Niet te doen

impossible, tough, very unpleasant [Dutch phrase of the week]

traffic-677106_640This phrase is used when things are difficult or almost impossible to accomplish or when a situation is tough in general. And this can be anything, from lousy weather to climbing the Mount Everest and from boring presentations to difficult exams. You can use it as part of a sentence but also on its own.

The translation is a bit difficult to give, it depends a lot on the context. Literally it says: “not to be done” or “not doable”.

– “Het was niet te doen in de stad vanmiddag, veel te druk!”
(“It was very unpleasant in the city centre this afternoon, way too crowded!”)

– “Door een ongeval op de A13 was het voor veel automobilisten vanochtend niet te doen om Den Haag te bereiken.”
(“For many drivers it was almost impossible to reach the Hague this morning, due to an accident on the A13.”)

– “Het was niet te doen om mijn fiets te reparen, ik heb niet het juiste gereedschap.”
(“It was impossible to repair my bicycle, I don’t have the proper tools.”)

– “Ik vond het examen echt niet te doen, belachelijk gewoon!”
(“I though the exam was too tough, just ridiculous!”)

– “De presentatie van de directeur was zo saai, het was gewoon niet te doen, ik ben in slaap gevallen!”
(“The managing director’s briefing was so boring, I just couldn’t handle it, I fell asleep!”)