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  5. "Ze is een meisje."

"Ze is een meisje."

Translation:She is a girl.

July 16, 2014

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Why is it "zij" sometimes and then sometimes "ze"? How do I know which to use?


Dtuch Grammar has a good explanation along with some examples on marked and unmarked personal prns. http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Pronouns.ps02


I just had a quick google and apparently you use the Zij when you want to stress the importance of HER doing the action. Where the action is more important, you use the unstressed version Ze.

If I am wrong please correct me.


So why then is it "Zij is een vrouw" (She is a woman) but "Ze is een meisje" (She is a girl)? Apparently it's a little more complicated. There is no action here.


I believe you can have either Zij is een vrouw and Ze is een vrouw, as well as Zij is een meisje and Ze is een meijse.


Yes, you can use either Zij or Ze. In a later section of the lesson KaiEngle posted:

" The difference is actually in the emphasis. In this particular sentence, 'zij' and 'ze' are interchangeable :)

" 'zij' is more emphatic than 'ze'

" So you use it to express something like 'I have no sandwich, but she does.'

" 'Ik heb geen boterham, maar zij wel.' "


I didn't read your original correctly. I think it is emphasizing that SHE is a woman, like you said as opposed to someone else.


You're right, it's emphasis/stress:

  • zij heeft een fiets (hij niet) = SHE has a bike (he hasn't)
  • ze heeft een fiets (geen auto) = she has a bike (not a car)

Zij is also used when you're pointing at someone.

There are some more pronouns and possessives that have this distinction (but not all have it!). See: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3734337


Just a little tip the audio exercises that helps me. Ze sounds like zuh and Zij sounds more like the word ‘hey’ if hey started with a z. If you play it slowly, you will hear the differences between the words.


May I have some advice on pronouncing "meisje"? It sounds similar to the German "Mädchen" to me- would the vowel be pronounced in the same way? Also, is "sj" just like "sh"?


for the ei, use english capital i (I) , and indeed sj as sh, e-> speak out like the e in water. so pronnounce it like mIshe. ur welcome


How often do native speakers use Zij?


native dutch here. we use it much. zij is to be used i saying she (used when ur pointing at her), they, and the side of the belly (under your arm). and i understand that its very difficult for dutch learning people because much words have more meanings.

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