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https://www.duolingo.com/Olga451165

Hen vs Hun

Olga451165
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Can someone please explain to me the difference between "hen" and "hun", or how to know when to use which?

from nl to eng it's easy to guess from context.. and from eng to nl I use "hun" for "their" and "hen" for "them".. But I see do uses both for "their"..

At this point I'm just confused.

1
2 years ago

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/fifinoot
fifinoot
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Actually I had this at school today, and I'm in the last year of the highest level of Dutch high school, so don't worry if you're doing it wrong. No Dutch person will notice because we barely know the rules ourselves. Anyway:

Hen is used - after a preposition (Ik kijk naar hen - I look at them) - when it refers to the direct object (Ik sla hen - I hit them) both sentences mean the same btw

hun is used - when refered to the indirect object (ik geef hun het boek - I give them the book) - as a possessive determiner (het is hun boek - It is their book)

lookey here it is possible to say "ik geef hun hun boek" (I give them their book) just to make it fun.

For more fun, hen also is a female chicken, so make a nice sentence like "Ik geef hun hun hen" (I give them their chicken)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JHezza
JHezza
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Thanks!

Tip for French speakers: it seems like "hen" is like "les" in French (Ik kijk naar hen - Je les regarde) and "hun" is like "leur" (Ik geef hun het boek - je leur donne le livre).

2
Reply10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/davidvdb
davidvdb
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That's a difficult one to explain :p See the Lavinae's and MrsKwakker's detailed explanations here. Don't worry though, this is one of those really annoying rules, a lot of native (!) speakers don't know how to distinguish those :)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pprins
pprins
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But "their" is always translated as "hun" or "van hen", never "hen" alone.

1
Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/davidvdb
davidvdb
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That's true, but that's the easier part. But you're right, that's rule number 1 of a long list.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pprins
pprins
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I don't deny that, but I wanted to add that one, because the topic starter explicitly mentioned 'But I see do uses both for "their"'. "Their" is unambiguously "hun", "them" is difficult, but usually you can get away with just using "hen".

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olga451165
Olga451165
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wow, things are far worse than I feared LOL Seems like all I can do is to guess, even if I try to follow the twisted rules.. Thank God both words at least sound the same when spoken fast.. no one will know XP no biggy then :D

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Reply2 years ago