"They are purple clogs."
Translation:Het zijn paarse klompen.
Because it would be like a personification. Generally zij is not used for inanimate objects.
The link doesn't really fully answer the question. It explains why het zijn is possible here and it follows implicitly from it that it's the most standard way to express the thought. But it doesn't follow that zij zijn can't be used at all in this case.
In German it is also more common to say es sind in this case, but sie sind is still possible. In German the choice depends on whether the noun first defines 'them' or whether 'they' are already known and we just use the noun to describe them further - a generalisation of the adjective case under the link. I would like to know if Dutch works the same way, but the link has no information on this.
As I have found nothing on the matter and Google doesn't find "zij zijn grote dieren" at all (whereas it does find "sie sind große Tiere"), it seems to me that this is in fact another difference between Dutch and German. It would be nice to have an explicit statement to this effect, though.
Given the history of Duolingo making weird sentences all the time "zij/ze zijn paarse klompen" should be correct.
you could say 'Zij zijn paarse klompen' but that would mean they were like a band whose name was 'paarse klompen' or that they were dressed like purple clogs
I thought "They are purple clogs." if translated is Zij zijn paarse klompen.
No. Paarse is the inflected form of paars. It is required when you use the adjective attributively (in front of the noun), as in this case. The most important exception is that you use the undeclined form when all of the following circumstances come together:
- The noun is a het word.
- The noun is in singular.
- The indefinite article een is used.
In this case the exception does not apply because the noun is in plural. (Therefore there is also no article at all, not the indefinite article, even though it's an indefinite use.)
I think 'het/zij zijn paarse honden' should also be accepted. Would zij zijn be used for animals/pets, or are they also just referred to as het zijn?
I think you have a problem deciphering your font. The word in the English sentence is clogs = CLOGS, not dogs = DOGS.
Also, zij is the only (subject case) plural pronoun in Dutch. This has nothing to do with noun gender, which simply doesn't matter in plural, or a distinction between things, animals and persons.
"Het zijn" uses het = it in an impersonal sense, similarly to how English uses there in "there are". When you say "There are people who don't like this" you don't expect the response "where?". If someone responds that way, the intent is clearly humorous, and taking het in "het zijn" literally would be similarly motivated.