"The sheep eats something."
Translation:Het schaap eet iets.
You can use these words interchangeably except in the following situations:
- After a preposition
Ik kijk naar iets. (Incorrect: Ik kijk naar wat.)
Ik weet iets niet. (Correct: Ik weet wat. Incorrect: Ik weet wat niet.)
As the first part of a clause.
Ik kan niet veel. Maar iets kan ik wel! Vioolspelen! (Incorrect: Maar wat kan ik wel! Vioolspelen!)
As an antecedent:
- Dit is iets dat ik niet wil. (Incorrect: Dit is wat dat ik niet wil)
. Source --> found this comment by "Elske" on https://hinative.com/de/questions/2288777
Because "schaap" is a "het"-noun, not a "de"-noun. There is no deeper rule here; you just have to know which nouns use which article.
But in case you know German, "het" goes with cognates of German neuter nouns ("das Schaaf" in this case), while "de" goes with cognates of German masculine and feminine nouns. (There are some other, more obscure languages that you could use in place of German here.) Also, if a noun has a suffix, then the suffix is all that matters. Finally, most nouns use "de", especially those for people (but not all of them). Those are all of the rules that I know!
No most of the time (nearly always) we say eat for animals. You can actually use vreten for humans too. It is more like ravashing, eating very messy with also a sense of hyperness. Or gorging.
Actually I can't really think of an example when it's used for animals (trying to picture someone saying it but I get nothing, only eten and plenty of examples for humans vreten.
Like I said when they are shoving it in at high speed making a mess or over indulging. Or said when trying to be insulting like "look at her, stuffing her face"