"They read the newspaper."
Translation:Zij lezen de krant.
See, Cheryl1, you cannot classify a noun (in Dutch) as - 'masuline', 'feminine' or 'neuter' just on the basis of what they mean in English. for example, It's 'Het miesje' even though 'meisje' = 'girl' which is a feminine. However, Dutch does not follow English grammar rules (obviously). That's why 'Het' is used with 'miesje'. The only way to remember the 'het' and 'de' words is only by experience and practice. Hope this helps :) Palaash
Dutch has three different genders for its nouns. Masculine and feminine nouns both use 'de' and neuter nouns use 'het'. There is no easy way to know which noun belongs to which gender. So when learning nouns, learn 'milk' as 'de melk'. Not just 'milk' as 'melk'.
Zij is the marked pronoun and ze is unmarked. Mostly it has to do with what you're giving emphasis to. If you say "Zij lezen de krant." (meaning they as opposed to me), then use zij, but if you're just saying that they're reading the newspaper and not putting emphasis on the fact that they're doing it and not someone else, then use ze. Does that help?
jij are just neutral vs emphatic, nothing more.
de are different genders of the definite article "the", although all nouns take
de in the plural, regardless whether they're
de in the singular.
I'm not sure
du is Dutch. But if you're taking French, it's the mandatory contraction of
le, which is "of the" or "some".
Long story short, "de" is for singular common gender and all plurals and "het" is for singular neuter gender. Unfortunately, there really is no way other than rote memorization to know whether a singular noun is a "de" word or a "het" word.