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Dutch Definite Article trainer iOS app

Check and memorize the correct definite article spelling of every Dutch noun word.

No more awkward spelling mistakes. Learn how to spell Dutch nouns like a native speaker.

There are only a few rules and many exceptions regarding when to select “de” or “het” in front of a Dutch word. This app covers them all.

Key features

  • Quiz mode: test your knowledge of 20-50 words from three groups (basic, frequent or infrequent). A must have to memorize the many exceptions.
  • Spaced learning algorithm: words you score low automatically appear more often in future test rounds.
  • Database of the 20,000 most relevant Dutch nouns. All “het” words are covered, to avoid spelling mistakes. Every word you don’t find in this app has “de” as definite article!
  • Bookmark words you want to check later, for further study.
  • Visual progress of your study with seven graphs and statistics.

Over 20,000 Dutch words to study

Browse and search the built-in database, containing all “het”-words in the Dutch language. Check before you write an important letter or mail, to avoid awkward spelling mistakes. Any word that is not on this list has “de” as definite article (as 80% of Dutch words has).

Three categories of words

Essential words: you must memorize if these have “de” or “het” as definite article. Many Dutch words are derived from these basic words and while studying them you will recognize some common patterns.

Start your study and test rounds with this set of approximately 5,000 words. Using “de” or “het” correctly every time you use a word in this category, already makes an enormous difference in how your mastery of Dutch is perceived. Because these words appear in almost every Dutch sentence.

Frequent words: not as ubiquitous as the Essential/Basic words, but these approximately 7,000 words extend your knowledge of the “de” or “het” definite article to the level of a native speaker.

Because of the ambiguities in the Dutch language (many words can be used with “de” or “het”) and sometimes regional differences, an occasional mistake is easily made by any Dutch speaker. Experiencing these words in context, like by reading Dutch texts, will improve your “intuition” when to use “de” or “het” for words that are specific to your job or field of study.

Infrequent words: over 8,000 sometimes outdated words, which you still might need depending on your job or study. No need to memorize them all. But do check the correct spelling in the database of this app if you want to use such a word in a study paper, important mail or business letter.

Three common rules for “de” and “het”

There are many rules about when to use “de” or “het” in front of a Dutch noun, each only covering a small group of words. And each of these rules has its own exceptions. This makes them very hard to understand and remember, if you are not a linguist.

However, there are three rules that you must learn by heart. Because they are so extensively used that you will encounter them in most Dutch sentences. And because they help you to use the correct definite article in front of the thousands of Dutch words that are not included in our database.

Plurals: always have “de” in front of them. Examples:

  • het huis –> de huizen
  • het schip –> de schepen
  • het stadhuis –> de stadhuizen (a plural of a compound word; see the second rule)
  • het meisje –> de meisjes (a plural of a diminutive; see the third rule)

Compound word: always has the same definite article as the base word. This is the Dutch noun at the rightmost end of the compound word. Examples:

  • de stad + het huis –> het stadhuis
  • de wolk + het onweer –> de onweerswolk
  • de spiegel –> de achteruitkijkspiegel (rear view mirror)
  • het salaris + de afspraak + het dossier –> het salarisafspraakdossier
  • de pinda + de kaas + het winkeltje –> het pindakaaswinkeltje (a compound word with a diminutive as base word; see the third rule).

There are many thousands of (long) Dutch nouns not covered in this app. But the database does cover all base words you will ever need. Just find the base word and check if that has “de” or “het” in front of it. Then you know what to put in front of long words like: consumptieaardappel or pootaardappel (see screenshot above).

Diminutive: always has “het” as definite article. Examples:

  • de onweerswolk –> het onweerswolkje
  • de spiegel –> het spiegeltje
  • de winkel –> het winkeltje

Your average score per word

Once you have tested your knowledge of a Dutch word, the score icon will be visible in the word list. From the second time you test a word, the weighted average score is calculated, in which more recent results have a higher weight. This is reflected in the colour of the icon:

  • Green: your weighted average score is above 75%. Well done.
  • Orange: on average you score between 50% and 75%. Getting there, but a few extra rounds of study are advised.
  • Red: your weighted average score is below 50%. You must increase your study effort to avoid spelling errors.

You can filter the list to show only words you have already scored. For every test rounds a mix of new words and words you studied before are selected. The latter based on average score, such that words that you struggle with appear more often, until you master their definite article.

Bookmark words for further study

In the details per word from the list, you can add a bookmark. By filtering the list on bookmarked words, you quickly have an overview of the words that you want to focus on in your study.

At the end of a test round, you can add a bookmark to all words you did not score correctly. In this way, you can easily look them up in the list for further study.

Get this unique Dutch language study app