"We are washing the mop because it is not wet."
Translation:אנחנו שוטפים את הסמרטוט כי הוא לא רטוב.
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Since I first posted the question, I've learned that zeh/zot is used more when the object hasn't already been specified, and hu/he/otoh/otah when it has. Since we specified the mop in the beginning of the sentence, we use hu at the end.
But DL does not apply that rule consistently, and it may be that modern Hebrew doesn't, either. Just yesterday I ran across a sentence similar in structure to this one, wrote hu (or maybe otoh), and was corrected to (et) zeh.
I thought this sentence was surely wrong, because to make sense in English it would have to say We are washing the mop because it is not clean or We are wetting the mop because it is not wet.
But then I thought of a parallel in English in which wash=rinse: when you wash fruits or vegetables, you’re not usually using soap, so you’re really rinsing them though you say washing them.