Word Order in Afrikaans

Afrikaans word order differs from English and is one of the more tricky parts of Afrikaans grammar (for English speakers), and this is a basic outline with more details being found in the appropriate sections such as Common Verbs, Negations and Questions.

Simple Sentences Start

Simple sentences have the same Subject, Verb, Object structure as in English. I.e. the order is the same and can be matched word for word (or almost word for word).

I see the dogEk sien die hond
The man is greatDie man is goed
There are three bedroomsDaar is drie slaapkamers
It was late at nightDit was laat in die nag
I am sorryEk is jammer
He was tiredHy was moeg
Where are you?Waar is jy?

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are longer sentences often with a verb particle such as het or sal (see verbs) or an infinitive.

In this type of (simple) compound sentence the verb is placed at the end.

I did it myselfEk het dit self gedoen
I can speak AfrikaansEk kan Afrikaans praat


Afrikaans almost always uses a double negative nie ... nie (apart from in short sentences).

The second of these 'nots' is always positioned at the end of the sentence.

I am not hungry notEk is nie honger nie
I don't speak AfrikaansEk praat nie Afrikaans nie

There are many more examples of word order of negated sentences here.


Simple questions using 'question' words often use a similar (or even identical) sentence structure to the English.

When does the last bus leave?Wanneer loop die volgende bus?
What is your name?Wat is jou naam?

Questions can also be formed with inversion.

I am going homeEk gaan huis toe
Are you going home?Gaan jy huis toe?
I am marriedEk is getroud
Are you married?Is jy getroud?