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Translating "alstublieft"


I've received a lot of contact about the page "alstublieft" — between praise for my explanation of the good Dutch word, and well-intended efforts to simplify its translation into English.

Alstublieft does not translate into English. It's true that various applications are equivalent to English terms — but no English term encompasses all of its meanings. In fact, English does not have a cognate for one of the principal usages.


Alstublieft can translate, roughly, into various English terms and phrases:

• "Please."
• "Here you go." — on the simple transfer of physical goods.
• "You're welcome." — which is to say, graciously, "please, accept" (spoken, of course, after the receiver's expression of "thank you.")

To claim that "alstublieft" translates into English is to misunderstand that various translations are literally accurate — and yet the spirit eludes.

Alstublieft, in a literal sense, is a cognate of "s'il vous plait ,*" French for "if it pleases you." But it's more than that.


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