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The suffix -tjes /tjəs/ and its allomorphs are used to derive adverbs from adjectives or other adverbs:

Table 1
Adjective Adverb
braaf dutiful braafjes dutifully
still quiet stilletjes quietly
warm warm warmpjes warmly
zacht soft zachtjes softly
Table 2
Simple adverb Complex adverb
even a short while eventjes briefly
samen together saampjes together
straks soon strakjes soon
stiekem in secret stiekempjes secretly
wel well welletjes sufficiently, will do

The suffix can furthermore be used to introduce an element of subjective evaluation.


The suffix -tjes is historically a combination of the diminutive suffix -tje and the adverbial suffix -s. This is reflected by the fact that it exhibits the same kind of allomorphy as the diminutive suffix -tje which has the five allomorphs -tje, -je, -kje,-pje,-etje. Hence, besides -tjes we find -jes, -pjes and -etjes with the same phonological distribution (the allomorph *-kjes is lacking as it would require a base adjective that ends in a velar nasal, has two syllables and initial stress, a combination of properties that does not exist). Note that in saampjes saam-pjes together (< samen together), beidjes both (< beiden both) and strakjes strak-jes later, soon (< straks later, soon), the form of the base word is reduced.

Apart from its grammatical function of creating adverbs, the suffix often introduces a semantic component of subjective evaluation. Specifically, like the diminutive suffix, adverbs with -tjes or its allomorphs may express endearment or downtoning. This suffix is used productively with simplex adjectives as bases. It belongs to the native stratum of Dutch and combines with native words only.

The suffix is a cohering suffix, that is, it forms a prosodic word with its base, and it is stress-neutral, as it preserves the stress pattern of its base word.

The forms stilletjes quietly and zoetjes sweetly occur as parts of the adverbs stilletjesaan gradually and zoetjesaan gradually, little by little.

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For more information and discussion, see Diepeveen, Ariane  2012. Modifying words. Dutch adverbial morphology in contrast. Diss. FU Berlin, chapter 15.http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/receive/FUDISS_thesis_000000038716