Dutch grammar class Trump

Learn Dutch with Trump – ‘t Kofschip explained

On the other side of the ocean there soon will be elections. Will Trump triumph? If not, there might be a career for him as a Dutch teacher, because he masters some complex Dutch grammar rules. The proof? I saw it on Reddit!


trump meme The Reddit-forum is more important than you might think. Open AI-developers poured the complete Reddit-forum into the dataset to train ChatGPT. Although some cynical people think that’s this is the cause of the ChatGPT’s hallucinations, I’m not one of them. That’s why I was impressed to see this meme. Let me explain the meaning.

Read this article in Dutch


In Dutch we know the perfect tense (vtt/vvt, perfectum) and the imperfect tense (imperfectum, ovt). The imperfect tense is about an action that is still going on (in the past). The perfect sense is about an action that is completed.

  • Ik heb 5 jaar in Leiden gewoondI have lived in Leiden.(vtt)
  • Toen ik in Leiden woonde, ging ik elke week naar de Hortus Botanicus – When I lived in Leiden, I went every week to the botanical gardens.(ovt)

This article is about the perfectum, the perfect tense


We compose the perfect tense with:

  • an auxiliary verb (hebben of zijn)
  • and a particle.


  • Ik heb (auxiliary verb) in Leiden gewoond(particle).
  • Hij heeft (auxiliary verb) haar haar geknipt(particle)– He has cut her hair.

As you see one of the particles ends on a -d and the other one on a -t. You cannot hear this difference in Dutch.
To know how to write the particles of regular verbs we use ‘t Kofschip


’t Kofschip is a mnemonic – a so called small donkey bridge – that we use in Dutch grammar to determine if a particle ends on a –d or a –t.
mnemonic 't Kofschip

  • First determine the infinitive of the verb. In our examples these are wonen and knippen.
  • Then determine the stem of the verb. You do this in general by subtracting -en from the infinitive. From the examples we  keep won and knipp.
  • Now take the last letter of the stem. In our example we have an -n for wonen and a -p for knippen.
  • The next step is to check if this last letter is in ’t Kofschip.
  • If the last letter of the stem is in ’t Kofschip then the particle ends on a -t. If not, then the particle ends on a -d
  • Now we have the result: the particle of wonen is gewoond and the particle of knippen is geknipt
note: the last letter of the stem must sound as one of the letters of ‘t Kofschip. An -x would thus follow the same rule as the -s

Read this article in Dutch


I was so lucky to witness a Dutch class with Trump – in my dreams – and this experience exceeded all my expectations when he cleared his throat, commanding attention:

Trump's Dutch grammar lecture
“Folks, today we’re going to tackle something tremendous, something fantastic – it’s called ‘t Kofschip,” he began, his voice filled with the familiar confidence that had once echoed in political rallies. “Imagine ‘t Kofschip as a mighty vessel, sailing through the seas of the Dutch language. This ship carries a precious cargo – the letters t, k, f, s, ch, and p. When a verb ends in one of these letters,” he continued, “you use a ‘t’ to form the past tense. It’s simple, it’s effective, and, quite frankly, it’s genius.”


Trump will most likely not have the time or opportunity to teach any more Dutch classes. I might therefore be the better choice for you. In my Google Classroom I store many documents where I explain the secrets of the Dutch language.

Call or send me a message for a free intake for private or group online classes.

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