How to use ZO'N (and how to pronounce it)!

The word "zo'n" is incredibly useful if you are learning Dutch, but don't confuse it with "zulke"! We will explain the difference!


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Zo'n in Dutch

When you first come across "zo'n", you might be a little bit confused. Because why does "zo'n" have a apostrophe? And when can you use it? After reading this article, you will be able to use "zo'n" with confidence!

There are three groups

1. Regular singular words: Zo'n

If have a regular singular noun, like for example "stoel" (chair), you can use zo'n as such a.
  • Ik wil ook zo'n stoel.
  • I also want such a chair (a chair like that).
Another example:
  • Ik heb nog nooit zo'n grote vis gezien.
  • I have never seen such a big fish.
Now why that apostrophe? It's because "zo'n" used to be "zo een", but nowadays zo een sounds very formal (and a bit weird).
You can also use zo'n to make an estimation
  • Er waren zo'n honderd mensen op het feest.
  • There were around one hundred people at the party.
Be careful: always pronounce zo'n as zoon. Don't pronounce it like two words.

Plurals: Zulke

For plurals, you use zulk(e). It has the same meaning as zo'n.
  • Hé, wat grappig. Ik heb ook zulke koffiekopjes.
  • Hey, how funny. I also have such coffee cups.

Singular words that are not countable: Zo'n & Zulk(e)

There are nouns that are not really countable. Like weer (weather) or water (water). For these nouns, you can choose zo'n or zulk(e).
  • Ik heb nog nooit zulke/zo'n lekkere thee geproefd!
  • I have never tasted such a delicious tea!
  • Het is zulk/zo'n lekker weer. Zullen we naar buiten gaan?
  • It's such a nice weather. Shall we go outside?
If you don't know when to put the -e behind zulk, read our article about the extra e.

Practice with exercises

Pick the right word! Do you have to use zo'n, zulk or zulke? This quiz from The Dutch Online Academy helps you practice.

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