"These are our lions!"
Translation:Это наши львы!
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In this case, "это львы" is translated as "These are lions." The key here is that это is used to define something, regardless of the gender or count.
эта, это, этот, эти are used in a slightly different manner. Instead of saying "these are lions," эти львы would mean "these lions," and you would have to add more to the sentence to specify what the lions are doing, for example, "эти львы едят." (These lions are drinking.)
Notice that while saying это львы (These are lions) forms a complete sentence, эти львы (these lions) does not.
Damn it!! I just can't get the hang of when to use и or ы for plurals and which words use which one, or when they are used as a grammatical ending, e.g. "у мамы есть карандаш". I have been cycling around the Animals-1 practice session for 20 minutes now, and I can't get them right!!
Try this free course for russian school students (the 5th form): https://academiait.ru/course/russkij-yazyk-5-klass/ :)
I looked it up and it offered two versions for the plural form of лев :/
https://www.dict.com/russian-english/%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B2 (click on the little blue triangle pointing down beside the russian word to display it's forms in different cases)
Can anyone explain why this is? Are the two interchangeable or are there any special cases one or the other is used in?
It agrees. Это is a strange word that changes function according to context:
Это яйцо - This egg. In this case Это applies since яйцо is neuter
Это велосипед - This is a bicycle. Since велосипед is masculine, the sentence cannot be "This bicycle" since that would require этот to match the gender. Whenever you are expressing "this is" you use это.
Это яйца - These are eggs. This is the plural form of "this is". The hint here is that это is used rather than эти. If you want to say "These eggs" then you'd have to use эти to match the plural.
Это велосипеды - These are bicycles. Another use matching "these are" to emphasize that the gender of the noun does not matter.