"He is reading the newspaper during dinner."
Translation:Hij leest de krant tijdens het avondeten.
I answered "Hij leest de krant tijdens avondeten" and was flagged incorrect. The answer given reads "het avondeten", but "the" doesnt appear in the question. How can there be a definite article in the answer, when it's not stated in the question?
"Tijdens avondeten" is not grammatically correct in Dutch. Unlike in English, it's not possible to leave out the article. A singular noun (except for mass nouns) must always get some kind of article or determiner.
Is that actually so?
"Zomersalade met opperdoezers, kool en sprot 'Vis, kool en aardappelen. Niet echt zomereten in mijn beleving, maar in die van de vissers rond de Zuiderzee vroeger wel. Ik maak er een lichtvoetige zomersalade van, met Opperdoezer " is copied directly from de Volkskrant today and I have noted from previous Duolingo "chapters" that Dutch tends to omit the article very much the same way that English does so. This is not permitted in French or Italian but seems fine in Dutch and English.
In Duolingo's food "chapter" I found the phrase "de kip eet brood" meaning "the chicken eats bread" where brood is splendidly article (or determiner) free.
Is there a rule? Is it just meals? I am confused, and Duolingo is contradictory.
I'm not sure how that text from de Volkskrant has anything to do with omitting the article with avondeten. Like Simius already said, you need the article when you say tijdens het avondeten. Similar with tijdens het middageten/tijdens het ontbijt.
When you refer to de kip eet brood I'm sure you understand the difference between the chicken eats bread and the chicken eats the bread.
Either way, tijdens is in combination with a singular always followed by an article.
- Tijdens de zomer
- Tijdens de oorlog
- Tijdens de vakantie
The reason I am confused is that articles have suddenly started appearing where I do not expect them. Dutchgrammar.com claims that articles appear as in English ( http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=NounsAndArticles.07) apart from a few exceptions, of which "tijdens" is not one.
In the whole of this chapter (Prepositions 1) definite articles keep appearing in front of nouns describing meals which I would not have expected in Dutch or English (though it would be obligatory in French or Italian).
I have tried Onzetaal.nl but cannot find anything there to suggest that an article is obligatory after "tijdens" or before mealtime nouns so perhaps you can understand my confusion.
I'm struggling a bit with the word order when using continuous forms. Are there any rules I should know? I had: hij is tijdens het avondeten de krant aan het lezen. This got corrected to: hij is de krant tijdens het avondeten aan het lezen.
Thanks, that was kind of helpful. Here's what I understand from that link: there is a left part (usually subject + verb), in our case "Hij is". Then there is a middle part (time, manner, place etc.), in our case "tijdens het avondeten". Finally, there is the right side (other verbs, indirect objects etc.), in our case "aan het lezen". The explanations say that the direct object, in our case "de krant", can go either before or after the middle part. Doesn't this mean that my original answer is correct?
I'm not a native speaker so I can't really say for sure, but it seems as if it is correct according to the link
I think the word order in your sentence sounds better, to my native Dutch speaker ears anyway! Both sentences are correct Dutch though.
Thanks Dutchesse722. Then I'll report it next time it comes up.
Hmm, I put 'het journal' -- obviously channelling some French -- which was marked wrong of course, but the answer it gave me was 'het dagblad', which was new to me. Anyway, Google Translate tells me it's a daily newspaper. I'm just surprised it came up with this instead of 'de krant', but maybe because I put 'het' instead of 'de' and had the wrong word completely?