Trouble with 'they' and 'the' form

I keep doing this wrong. In some sentences 'de' is defined with the translation of 'the' see this example:

De yngsta och de äldsta --> the youngest and the oldest

Why is 'de' used in these kind of cases? Cause I'm normally I only use 'De' to translate 'They'. Is there an explanation for this?

January 8, 2019


Well, this 'de' is not the personal pronoun that can be translated to 'they'.
It is in fact the plural form of the definite article 'den/det'.

  • En ung flicka. - A young girl.
  • Den unga flickan. - The young girl.
  • Två unga flickor. - Two young girls.
  • De unga flickorna. -The young girls.
January 8, 2019

(Almost) every languge has homographs (if I say “I found a bat”, did I find an animal or a baseball bat?), and the context usually tells you what is meant. “De” isn’t too bad, because unlike in the English example, the other option (“they youngest and they oldest”) doesn’t make a lot of sense.

January 8, 2019

I suppose it makes logical sense if you consider the plural is referring to 'one of many' as opposed 'one vs one other'....

January 11, 2019
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