You could say "She is a child." which would be "Zij is een kind." or "He is a child." which would be "Hij is een kind.", but there are times when you might say "It is a child." and that would be "Het is een kind." and from that we do not know the gender and maybe the speaker is too far from the child to see the gender either.
I agree we would say "It's a child" if we were too far away to know if it was a boy or girl, but even if the child were up close, we would still say it in an identifying-what-it-is sort of situation, when we don't know enough to know whether to use "he", "she" or "it": for example, if someone were to ask "Who's at the door?"--"It's a child."
Thank you for helping me understand a little better but am I right in thinking "Hij is een man" is "He's a man" while "Het is een man" is "It's a man" (as we might say, for example, in answer to the question "Who's at the door?"--"It's a man.")? It seems to work that way for "kind" where you can say both "Hij is een kind" and "Het is een kind".
That would be "Dit is een kind." http://webtranslation.paralink.com/translator/default.asp
Een means both "a," "an" and "one." The difference is really in the pronunciation. You'd say Een ( pronounced as Ain) when you mean one of something, i.e. One child, Een kind. When you mean to use the English A or An, in Dutch you'd still use Een, except you pronounce it like Uh(n). Hope this clarifies things.
Het and De both mean The, i.e. Het meisje, De jongen (the girl, the boy). Het can also be used for It, but it depends on the sentence it is used in. For example, Het is koud, It is cold. As for Zij/Ze, in singular it means She, in plural it means They, i.e. Zij drinkt (she drinks) and Zij drinken (they drink).
- Het can be it (if it is the subject) and the
- Zij singular = she, e.g. zij is - Zij plural = they e.g. zij zijn
- Deutsch = German, not Dutch
The app is made to learn by making mistakes and finding patterns yourself and by using external information if needed.
You can also have a look here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3732817
Yes, it's true that in English you cannot just miss out the subject of the sentence. You use "it" in English if you don't know enough about your subject to know whether to use "he", "she" or "it", for example, if you saw an indistinct shape in the distance you might ask someone, "What is that thing over there?"-- "I think it's a woman." Once you know it is a woman you use "she" and "her" to talk about her. It seems to be the same in Dutch.
In English "it" is used for animals but quite often "he" or "she" is used once the animal's sex is known, especially with pet animals and horses.
As a native English-speaker I advise you never to use "it" for a baby or small child except for the sort of situation we were discussing -"What a lovely baby! What is it, a boy or a girl?" - where you are using "it" because you don't yet know the sex. Parents expect you to use "he" and "him" or "she" and "her" in talking about their babies.
We English-speakers are in fact quite taken aback at how the German word for "baby" ("Baby") is neuter and how in German (and it seems in Dutch as well) diminutive endings make a word neuter. As we have just learned, the Dutch diminutive ending seems to be "-je" or "-etje", giving "het meisje" for "the girl". In both Dutch and German the word for "child" is neuter ("het kind").
In English to use "it" when talking about a human being, apart from the "What is it?" sort of situation, is seen as very disrespectful, signifying you consider the person less than human.
In answering Lucasedugamap about when we use "it" in English, I found myself wondering what pronoun do Dutch speakers use when talking about girls and children. "Het meisje" and "het kind" are neuter. If you are talking about a girl what personal pronoun would you use, "zij"("she") or "het"("it")? "Het would agree with "het meisje" grammatically but to an English-speaker like me it sounds disrespectful, like talking about a girl in English and calling her "it" as a sign of contempt. But that's English and this is Dutch!
I've been studying German for ages and it's so like Dutch in some ways. In German the words for "girl" ("Maedchen") and "child" ("Kind") are neuter, as in Dutch. When German-speakers want to be correct in their grammar what they do after using "Maedchen" ("girl") is follow it up with the German word for "it" to refer back to the neuter noun. It's not disrespect in German but a piece of good grammar.
However, from what I've been led to understand, in everyday speech it's quite different - people will use the word "Maedchen" and will thereupon as often as not go over to using the German words for "she" and "her". I wonder if it's the same in Dutch.
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