1. back in the days, back then, in the past [adverb]

In this context "vroeger" is not always literally translated as an adverb. In English, there's often the possibility to use a construction with "used to", as you can see from the examples.

– "Vroeger was alles beter."
("Back in the days, everything was better." Check this funny commercial)

– "Ze maken ze niet meer zoals vroeger."
("They don't make 'em like they used to.")

– "Laten we er nog eentje drinken, als herinnering aan vroeger."
("Let's have another one, for old time's sake." (We left the 'drink' out of the translation.))

– "Vroeger dachten mensen dat heksen echt bestonden."
("In the past, people thought that witches really existed." / "People used to think that witches really existed.")

2. former, past, previous, prior [adverb/adjective]

– "Franks vroegere functie was operationeel productmanager."
("Frank's previous position was operational productmanager.")

– "Franks vroegere vrienden lachten hem altijd uit."
("Frank's former friends always made fun of him.")

3. earlier [adverb/adjective]

This is the comparative degree ('vergrotende trap') of "vroeg".

– "Ik ben wat vroeger omdat de gebruikelijke file er vandaag niet stond."
("I am a bit earlier because the usual traffic jam wasn't there today.")

2 thoughts on “Vroeger

  1. thanks for the post!
    i was really having difficulty in deciding when to use “vroeger” and “eerder”. now things are a bit clearer.
    Still…how would you translate “What were you saying (a bit) earlier? ” with “vroeger”, “eerder” or soemthing else?

  2. Hi Ionut – good question.
    You cannot use ‘eerder’ in the first translation above. You can use it in the second translation but ‘vroeger’ would be more common. And you can use it in the third translation.
    In your example you can use ‘eerder’, but it indicates ‘quite some time ago on the same day’. Often you will add ‘vandaag’, ‘vanochtend’, ‘deze morgen’ etc.
    Now, ‘a bit earlier’ as in your example would be translated differently. You can say:
    – net;
    – zonet; (like “net” but more common)
    – daarstraks; (longer ago than ‘zonet’ but still a short time ago)
    – zo-even; (like ‘zonet’ but it “feels like” a bit longer ago)
    Safest bet would be ‘zonet’ for really ‘just now’, and ‘daarstraks’ for a little longer ago but still a very short time ago.
    Hope this helps 🙂

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