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'.
- "Het zijn dieren." = "They are animals."
- "Het zijn aardappelen." = "They are potatoes."
- "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:
- "Ze zijn mooi." = "They are pretty."
- "Ze zijn aardig." = "They are nice."
- "Ze zijn groot." = "They are big."
German does the same thing!
- Het zijn dieren = Es sind Tieren
- Ze zijn groot = Sie sind groß
You can also use "das sind..." in German. Is 'dat zijn' used in Dutch?
Yes, but 'dat zijn' somewhat implies that you're pointing at them more than 'het zijn' does, if you get what I mean. :)
Thank you for clarifying this, too bad I couldn't see this before I answered. I didn't get it at all.
Could by like in french ce sont..?
Ce sont des animaux,
ce sont des tomates,
ce sont mes parents,
ce sont mes meilleurs amis ..!
yeah, except in actual, colloquial, spoken french hardly anyone actually SAYS 'ce sont', they just say 'c'est', because it's faster haha.
Would you please share the url instead? The link doesn't seem to be 'clickable/tappable' on the app.
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.
Some grammarians would call 'their' a possessive adjective, I prefer the term 'possessive determiner'.
Question; Is it incorrect to say "Ze zijn luek" instead of "Ze zijn aardig"?
I think it is because "These" is a demonstrative while Het is a personal pronoun.
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?
Because the subject is still a noun. Look at the example about 'sweet, little dogs' provided by Esmerelda in the comments.
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.
At least, that's my interpretation, I'm not claiming to be an expert.
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.
These are... = Dit zijn...
- Het zijn = They are
- Dit zijn = These are
- Dat zijn = Those are