"Where are the bears?"
It's amazing how much improvement has been made and how many questions have already been answered during these months:) Todah rabah to you and the team!
Et is for the definite objects of verbs:
Where is the bear? איפה הדוב?
I see the bear. אני רואה את הדוב
I see a bear. אני רואה דוב
So, as a simplified rule, only after verbs (doing words), and only when it is "the" something.
Please can you explain the use of "את" in this sentence, "איך הוא עושֶה את זה"? There is a verb but no "the" something.
When I wrote above 'only when it is "the" something', I was simplifying. Often, a definite object is one with "the" before it in English, but even "this" and "that" are definite, since they are real, defined things - if you say "look at this", there must be something that exists that you can or could point to. This is what definite means. An indefinite thing is usually accompanied by "a/an" in English. If you say "look at a cat", then you're not specifying a particular cat, and it's indefinite.
The concept of definite vs indefinite is a little difficult to understand, and very difficult to explain concisely and clearly, so it's often just better to learn it by learning what is and what isn't definite, and when you have זה in Hebrew, it is always definite, so as an object (when something is done to it), it must be preceded by את.
Thank you. Your answer makes perfect sense. You've explained things simply. Much appreciated.
In a previous question, the sentence was מה הילדים רוצים? Because the children are definite?!. But because they're not the object of the want/verb, there's no direct object marker?
Yes. In מה הילדים רוצים, the הילדים is the subject. The object, you can say, is "what". Indeed, את מה הילדים רוצים sounds... not quite natural, but almost natural. And if it's מי instead of מה, for example "who(m) do you love?", you have to use את, it has to be את מי אתה אוהב. Not sure why this difference between מה and מי.