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with this, with that, with it... really such a big difference?

Larry_the_Zebra
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Hello, I have a question for advanced Dutch, not beginner Dutch.

Duolingo seems to insist that there is a huge difference between er-, hier- and daar- + preposition words (ermee, hiermee, daarmee, for example)

ermee = with it

hiermee = with this

daarmee = with that

I am not arguing these translations.

But the problem is, in English, very often the use of it, this and that (especially this and that) is HIGHLY subjective. Only in very literal cases where one is pointing to an object, or holding it, must one clearly use one and not the other. This for close things, that for things further away. However.....

Example of abstract use: The Tulip Craze. What do you know about it/this/that? I don't know much about it/this/that, I'm not good with this/that subject.

All of these options are correct in English when the situation is abstract.

My question: With the exception of words that are used with an idiomatic meaning (hierdoor/daarnaast for example) is the use of words like hiermee and daarmee (and ermee) also as subjective in Dutch as it is in English, and the choice of which to use mostly left up to the speaker? Or is there, as Duo is implying, always a 100%, strict application of 'this/that/it', EVEN in abstract contexts?

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2 years ago
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