I put in "both books" and got marked wrong with a little note that I need a definite article, but I feel like the English "both books" conveys the definiteness just fine without it. Is there a reason it's necessary to have a "the" in there?
Native English speaker here.
When you're using "both" or "both of" generally, they are synonymous:
-"Both my students passed the exam." ✔ Correct -"Both of my students passed the exam." ✔ Correct
Both (no pun intended) of these sentences mean that you have only two students, and two of those two passed the exam. Sometimes one may feel more natural to use, and sometimes the other will.
The only exception where you have to use one or the other is when using pronouns, such as:
-"Both of us passed the exam." ✔ Correct -"Both us passed the exam." X Wrong
The exception is when the pronoun in question is an object, then you can put the pronoun before the word "both" and be alright:
"I saw them both." ✔ Correct "I saw both of them." ✔ Correct "I saw them of both." X Wrong
I put "We want two books," but it was wrong. How can you differentiate between two books and both books?
"We would like both books" is unfortunately not accepted. In most of the previous lessons want and would like can be used interchangeably. Please correct it here too - I sometimes feel as if my English were getting somewhat, er, impolite after practising too much Hebrew with Duo :)
I think "רוצה" is also not the polite hebrew manner. I think I read about it something. I do not know what was the polite way anymore. maybe someone else????
I fear a real צַבָּר would not use such a level of polite language. I suppose אֲנַ֫חְנוּ רוֹצִים is already the improved version of תֵּן לָ֫נוּ! Some languages make very much ado about the right way to address someone (think of Korean), others are rather brusquely in our ears, amongst them Hebrew.
Well, in Archaic Hebrew the Dual seems to have been used freely as in Ugaritic or Classical Arabic (Jdg 5.30 יחלקו שלל רחם רחמתים לראש גבר have they not divided the spoil? A concubine, two concubines to every man is seen as an example for this), but already in Classical Hebrew this was restricted to nouns which come in pairs naturally. Books do not.
How is of "both" pronounced?Also are there masculine and feminine constructs for plural and singular?