As gatas vs. Os gatos
I've come across a question multiple times where there are two options for "The cats drink water" and I've selected "As gatas bebem água." It told me it was wrong, which it's not, and it said the correct answer is "Os gatos bebem água." Has anyone else had this problem?
I think you have to select both possibilities so it gets accepted as correctly
If it's a multiple choice question, yes, you have to choose both, but for the writing either one is good
Bit confused... Why can you use both masculine (Os) and feminine (As) for cats?
Haha I think I understand. "Os" would mean the "male cats..." and "As" for the "female cats..."?
That's correct. In English we don't typically make the distinction of whether it's female or male cats, its juts 'the cats' in Portuguese you'd have to specify female or male, so both options are correct. Though when speaking conversationally if it's both female and male cats in a group you'd use the masculine as a generalization.
If you mean the animal, you definitely want to say "os gatos". Even when both are correct, gatas is feminine and gatos is masculine, if you say "as gatas" the person you are talking to will probably think you are talking about a "sexy woman" and not the animal.
Also, if you have group of cats together (cats from both sex, gatas e gatos) you will refer to them as gatos and not gatas as the masculine sex will prevail. This is like a general rule in romance languages like Portuguese or Spanish