—– Where does ne’e go?

As you know, ne’e means ‘this’. As Lauren has picked up, ne’e can be used in different places in Tetum, sometimes before another word, and sometimes after.

So the question is… where does ne’e go? Let’s start by looking at ‘this’ in English.

We can have the two following sentences, which have different meanings.


1- This is a book

2- This book is good


In sentence 1, we have the words is and a in between the other words, but in Tetum we don’t actually use these words…


This is a book

Ne’e        livru


Tetum doesn’t distinguish beween this is a ____ , and this _____  using additional words, it uses a different strategy – switching the word order.


This book is good                                This is a good book

Livru ne’e di’ak                                      Ne’e livru di’ak


I always remember it by thinking

THIS IS        =  ne’e first/before the word

THIS ____    =   ne’e second/after the word


Activity 1- Practise getting the order right

Translate the following into Tetum


This is a book

Ne’e livru


This book is mine

Livru ne’e ha’u-nian


This house is big

Uma ne’e boot


This is a big house

Ne’e uma boot


This is a cup

Ne’e kopu


This is my cup

Ne’e ha’u-nia kopu


This cup is mine

Kopu ne’e ha’u-nian




October 13, 2017

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