"Het zijn hun koeien."

Translation:They are their cows.

July 26, 2014

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lavinae

The use of 'het zijn' (= they are) is a peculiarity, specific to Dutch.
Instead of writing a separate grammar post on this, I'll provide you with this external link which explains it well. Below you can also find a brief explanation. :)

We use 'het zijn' followed by a noun, where the English use 'they are'.

Examples:

  1. "Het zijn dieren." = "They are animals."
  2. "Het zijn aardappelen." = "They are potatoes."
  3. "Het zijn lieve hondjes." = "They are sweet, little dogs."

Now, when we are dealing with a an adjective this formula isn't used. Instead, you'll find sentences like these:

  1. "Ze zijn mooi." = "They are pretty."
  2. "Ze zijn aardig." = "They are nice."
  3. "Ze zijn groot." = "They are big."
August 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jabramsohn

German does the same thing!

  1. Het zijn dieren = Es sind Tieren
  2. Ze zijn groot = Sie sind groƟ

You can also use "das sind..." in German. Is 'dat zijn' used in Dutch?

August 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lavinae

Yes, but 'dat zijn' somewhat implies that you're pointing at them more than 'het zijn' does, if you get what I mean. :)

April 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deborantunes

Thanks a lot a Lavinae!

August 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SkillsInPills

Thank you for clarifying this, too bad I couldn't see this before I answered. I didn't get it at all.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kreilyn

Could by like in french ce sont..?

Ce sont des animaux,

ce sont des tomates,

ce sont mes parents,

ce sont mes meilleurs amis ..!

January 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lavinae

I think so. :)

April 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emmett705338

yeah, except in actual, colloquial, spoken french hardly anyone actually SAYS 'ce sont', they just say 'c'est', because it's faster haha.

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReneeDubuc

Does "het" only mean "they" when it is used as "het zijn"?

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

Exactly.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moidekar

Very helpful. Thanks!

August 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

Hi Lavinae,

Would you please share the url instead? The link doesn't seem to be 'clickable/tappable' on the app.

Thanks!

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheNecromancer10

I'm not Lavinae, but here's the link:

http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Pronouns.Ps04

Also, why are you trying to learn languages on mobile?

December 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

Hi QuentinWU3, Thanks!

Actually, I've finished my Dutch tree a long time ago, so I use the app to strengthen my skills and comment here on the sentence discussions.

I was only requesting for the url because I know that many people only use the app.

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReneeDubuc

Is "their" an adjective?

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

Some grammarians would call 'their' a possessive adjective, I prefer the term 'possessive determiner'.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AimarOng

no

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FamilyGrandhi

Thank you, that's a clear explanation.

August 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alyssa030

Question; Is it incorrect to say "Ze zijn luek" instead of "Ze zijn aardig"?

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melarish

Why is "These are their cows" wrong?

July 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/webazos

I think it is because "These" is a demonstrative while Het is a personal pronoun.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AshokMA

How about - those are their cows?

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

= Dat zijn hun koeien.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReneeDubuc

I don't understand the website

Het zijn inheemse planten. They are indigenous plants. Ze zijn inheems. They are indigenous.

"Indigenous" is an adjective in both cases. Does the noun not have to be right next to the "they" to be considered linked?

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MihirBhagat

Because the subject is still a noun. Look at the example about 'sweet, little dogs' provided by Esmerelda in the comments.

June 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

In het zijn inheemse planten, inheemse planten is a noun phrase. So het is a type of endophoric referent (cataphoric reference, the construction het zijn as 'they are' is use as cataphoric reference).

In ze zijn inheemse, inheemse is an adjective in predicative position, and as ze it refers to something 'outside of speech', 'in the real world', so there's exophoric reference. When there's exophoric reference we use 'ze zijn'.

Hope this helps.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MentalPinball

At least, that's my interpretation, I'm not claiming to be an expert.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/circleofsorrow

Could 'these' be used instead of 'they'. It would result in a more proper form. It seems as if a colloquial usage is being equated back to the Dutch.

February 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

These are... = Dit zijn...

  • Het zijn = They are
  • Dit zijn = These are
  • Dat zijn = Those are
February 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/circleofsorrow

Thank you very much! :)

February 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian672942

I've tried "These are" and "Those are", apparently "Het zijn not correct".

June 3, 2019
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