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How to use OM + TE for actions and goals

This little word "te" seems to pop up everywhere. And... sometimes it doesn't when you expect it to. Learn everything there is to learn about "te" at The Dutch Online Academy. In this article we focus on one type of "te": te for action and goals.


Learn the theory

Om + Te for Actie + Doel in Dutch

This rule of TE is pretty easy if you know English, because in English the equivalent would be "to". This might not feel like a very satisfying explanation, because there are other forms of "te" that behave different from English. So let's dive into this one, so you learn to distinguish the different types of "te" and will be able to use all correctly!

Connect the goal to the action

Let's look at some sentences:

  • Ik ga naar de bakker.

OK, great sentence. But now I want to add WHY I am going to the bakery. Let's add the goal.

  • Ik ga naar de bakker om een brood te kopen.

Hey, look at that! We've easily connected two sentences by simply connecting the goal to the action using om and putting te in front of the infinitive verb.

Let's do that again.

  • Wij nemen de auto om sneller in Amsterdam te zijn.

  • Hij drinkt koffie om wakker te worden.

  • Zij gaat naar de badkamer om te douchen.

  • Ik e-mail mijn docent om een vraag te stellen.

  • Mijn ouders gaan op vakantie om uit te rusten*

* uitrusten is a separable verb. "Te" comes in between the separable parts.

Now remember: om is mandatory in this construction. In some other ways we use te, om is optional or not possible.

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