https://www.duolingo.com/Bjaydee75

Das ist meine Katze - Das sind meine Katzen

Could someone please clarify the use of "das" in both of these phrases/sentences.

I understand that "das ist" and "das sind" mean "that is" and "those are" respectively. But I thought "das" was used only when you are referring to a neuter noun. Also, I thought "das" was only used to refer to something in the singular.

Here, the references to "meine Katze" and "meine Katzen" suggest to me that the thing being referred to is a singular female cat or group of female cats respectively.

Why then don't we say "Die ist meine Katze" etc? Is "das" not being used as a definite article in these phrases? Is the use of "das" justified or mandated simply because "das" in these phrases is being used in the sense of "that" rather than "the"?

To add to my confusion, it appears that "Die Katze" is used to refer not just to female cats but also to any other cat whose biological gender is unknown (see here: https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/25636/gender-specific-pronouns-for-animals).

Edited to add: Even if the cats in question are not necessarily biologically female, shouldn't the gender of the words used in the phrases be consistent? In other words, since "meine Katze/n" involves a grammatical female gender, shouldn't the article used be grammatically female also?

Thanks in advance.

April 12, 2018

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/7hAu0bvY

das as you already mentioned: das is not used as an article this case. Das can also mean this or that.

if you want to say "i want this" you, you can say in german "ich will das".

the article is changed for the "meine" which is feminine. if the noun was masculine it would be "mein" in this case like: "das ist mein Kater" or "das ist mein Hund"

though mein can also be neutral.

like for "das Zimmer" (the room) - "das ist mein Zimmer"

die Katze is the name of the species.

if you want to refer to a male cat you can say "der Kater".

some would refer to a female cat with "die K├Ątzin" others would just stick with die Katze for female cats.

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Bjaydee75

Thanks 7hAu0bvY. That's what I was thinking. I appreciate that "this" and "that" aren't definite articles in English, but I wasn't sure if "das" was always to be regarded as being a definite article in German.

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Or, That is my hangover. ;-)

April 13, 2018
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