"They are purple clogs."
Translation:Het zijn paarse klompen.
Dutch deals with "it" and "they" in a different manner than English does. In English, "they" can refer to inanimate things as well as living entities (plants, animals, fungi, bacteria) and "it" is singular. In English, when you refer to at least two inanimate things (such as boxes, computers, crates) etc. you use "they" when a pronoun is needed. In Dutch, they/zijn always refers to living entities (inanimate things are not included) and het can be either singular or plural. So if you refer to boxes, computers, crates, etc. you use "het".
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.
My Google search for "zij zijn grote dieren" turned up three results including this discussion. (The other two links are https://nl.dreamstime.com/stock-foto-draag-rustend-op-een-hete-dag-image91969269 and http://huisdieren.blogitl.com/page/2.) Searching for the unemphatic "ze zijn grote dieren" turned up two results (http://www.parkfarmcottages.org.uk/wildlife.shtml?lang=nl and http://www.wikisailor.com/thema/zelf-koe-euthanaseren.html). "Het zijn grote dieren" gives about 2990 results. I get about 34 results for "sie sind große Tiere" and about 1280 results for "es sind große Tiere".
Regarding using "het zijn", Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar (2nd Edition) by Bruce Donaldson says this in chapter 8, section 184.108.40.206(c):
"...as subject of the verb zijn (and less frequently of blijken, blijven, lijken, schijnen and worden) the pronoun het is used to refer to all nouns and persons (singular and plural) when: 1 the predicate (i.e., what follows the finite verb) contains a noun; or 2 the predicate contains an adjective used as a noun, but not when the predicate contains simply an adjective on its own; then het is used only for singular neuter nouns..." (see note 7 below)
"7 This is identical to the use of "es" in German as well as "ce" versus "il/elle" and "ils/elles" in French."
Not sure if that is what you're hoping for, but I thought I'd share what I found and the information I have.
No. Paarse is the inflected (declined) 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 am not sure what you mean. I am assuming that you are referring to the sentence "Het zijn paarse klompen."
Het is an impersonal it as in: "It's purple clogs". It looks like a singular, but in Dutch (like in German) it takes the plural form of the verb (here: zijn) when referring to a plural.
Klompen is the plural of klomp.
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.