"De pasta is het eten."

Translation:The pasta is the food.

August 8, 2014

This discussion is locked.


I realize every language has its cultural nuances and that sometimes Duolingo suggests very odd sentences, but is there a legit use for a sentence like this in Dutch?


I would guess this sentence needs some qualifier to make sense like "the pasta is today's food/meal" or "the best food/meal" in both languagues.


I feel this is so you can learn which words are de-woords and which are het-woords


I think in English it wil mean something like, we are having pasta to eat.


"The pasta is the food" does not make sense "Pasta is a food" or "The food is pasta" work no one would ever say the oasta is the food


I suppose it could work like this: "Where's the food? There's only pasta." "The pasta is the food."


I feel it is worded as it is, so you can learn which words are de-woords and which are het-woords.


I agree this is an odd way to say it. I've noted other unique sentences in this Dutch course like "the boys eat the bread".. When one could simply say "The boys eat bread" Also trying to wrap my head around this sentence. Haha


Whats the difference between eten and voedsal as both mean food?


Good question. I would say voedsel is more generic/abstract. Not something reading to eat on your plate. The emphasis is on nutrition. So food as described in biology. I guess nourishment comes close but not really.


Is there a definitive rule for whether we say "De" or "Het"?


No but keep in mind that approximately two-thirds are de-words and the other one-third are het-words. E.g. De auto, de winkel, het huis


I may have just found something for anyone who has ever studied German: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_language#Genders_and_cases Based on this, it seems that more often than not, a "het" word will take "das" in German. Not always, I don't think, but it does seem to be happening more often than mere coincidence.


Yes, Dutch gender and German gender usually match each other, roughly like how Spanish and Italian match (yet you still get things like la leche/il latte sometimes). For example:

de appel (masc.)
der Apfel (masc.)

de koe (fem.)
die Kuh (fem.)

het meisje (neu.)
das Mädchen (neu.)


I think it's because Dutch likely had a gender merge like Swedish, where masculine and feminine words became common gender and neuter remained.


If they are cognates that is. Not for words that are totally different though meaning the same thing. The words needs to have the same origin.

I have heard that even then it isn't foolproof but atleast 95%

[deactivated user]

    In english no, but in german there is. De means 'Der, Die' for masculine and feminine nouns het is 'Das' for the third that in german is called sächlich. I don't know whats that kn english


    There exist a few rules but most of the words you'll have to memorize by heart. I have two that come to my mind, there might be a few others: - Words ending with -e are feminine. A word that can be defined as "masculine" or "feminine" is therefore not "neutral", so they're "de" words. For example, a lot of professions names (ending with -er/ster), female animals I think too. - Words ending with -je are "het" words. There are probably a few more like this. But still, the majority has to be learned by heart.


    They aren't exactly rules but more constatations/observations after the fact (people noticed the similarities. Hey this word ends in this and uses de and hey so does this word) like that words ending in -nis are feminine

    The one that is a rule regards people. If I were to invent a profession right now you are sure it's not gonna be a neuter word.

    Don't mix up up masculine and male and feminine and female though.

    Words refering to people always use de because they have a biological gender (sex), people can't be neuter.

    Other grammatical rules are
    all plurals will get de
    And all diminutives will get het (even if it's about people)

    So the rules are people, plurals and diminutives. And other than that there is a long list of indicators you can find here.

    https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geslacht_(Nederlands) Under typology

    (there is an english article aswell but not sure the list is as complete and there is a lot more other text you have to fight your way through before you get to the list)


    I do think that the context of the questions should be stated. "The pasta is "the" food".....i keep getting things wrong because i type "The pasta is food" because that makes sense.


    is = is.

    ik ben
    je/u bent
    hij/ze/het is
    we zijn
    jullie zijn
    ze zijn


    People say: "It's pasta for dinner." I never heard "The pasta is the food"


    That's because pasta is the best food. As in, Man, that pasta is the food.


    It's awkward in both languages

    However I can think of a context

    Our hero needs to solve several riddles in order to advance and gain admittance to the cave/Kingdom/enchanted whatever

    There are three items placed before him. All very obscure in thede lands. And he is given the difficult task to guess which of these is edible. He ofcourse coming from a land far far away immediately recognises the pasta. But pretends to give it some thought. Then exclaims "the pasta is the food!" The guardian of the entrance is baffled in 500 years noone ever guessed it correctly and reluctantly allows him to pass.


    “The pasta is the food.” ??? Is this even an English sentence? This is the worst prompt I’ve gotten in this course thus far. “Pasta is food” would make much more sense. Please change it or get rid of the prompt because this does not make sense as an English sentence.


    Could this also be translated as "Pasta is food"?


    No, that's the translation of Pasta is eten or Pasta is voedsel.


    True, but the literal translation of the "het" and "de" words here sounds stilted in English.


    The sentence is a bit awkward in both languages


    It doesn't have to make sense, we're learning the rules

    • 15

    Nope! Unlike in French, the Dutch definite articles are not used for generalizations.


    Actually they are in some cases, think about: de handel (trade) or het transport (transportation).

    • 15

    Not sure if I agree. When talking about trade or transportation in general, you wouldn't use an article in Dutch:

    "Transport is het vervoer van mensen of goederen" - "Transportation is the conveying of people or goods"

    "Handel is goed voor de economie" - "Trade is good for the economy"


    Sure it probably isn't very common, but like I said, it is used in some cases, e.g.

    • Om de economie te laten groeien, moet het transport verbeteren. - To let the economy grow, transport has to improve.
    • Het gaat goed met de handel. - Trade is going well.

    • 15

    Fair enough, that works!


    Bedankt! That helps.


    Of course not


    I find Dutch is kinda close to Deutsch (i study it )


    if I said " de pasta is een eten" it will be different ?

    • The food - het eten
    • A food - een eten (though to be honest I don't think this works very well in each language, a type/kind of food - een soort eten would make more sense).


    What is wrong with the noodles are the food?


    ok, i am a bit confused. isnt "eten" "eat"? how can it be used for "food"?


    Eten can be both a verb and a noun: het eten = the food; wij eten = we eat


    Eten is both a noun and verb in Dutch.
    German also makes this distinction, and the noun would be capitalized then:

    We eten pasta.
    Wir essen Pasta.
    We eat pasta.

    Pasta is een eten.
    Pasta ist ein Essen.
    Pasta is a food.

    Sadly, Dutch (along with English) does not capitalise all of its nouns.


    In Dutch you can't say: "pasta is een eten". You can only say "Pasta is eten" or "Pasta is een soort eten ( ... a kind of food)".


    Don't you mean luckily in stead of sadly? ;). For new learners I agree it can be helpful because you can immidiately identify the noun, but it's mostly a hassle. If you know the language you will already know what the nouns are.

    And agreed, you can't say pasta is een eten in dutch. (And I feel like it isn't in german either, but my german isn't fluent, so not gonna make a claim there)

    Pasta is a mass noun


    why cant it be the "The pasta is food"????


    More mangled English from Duo. On another occasion, it'll mark ya wrong for a literal translation : (


    Why would anyone say the pasta is THE food?


    See the story I've written as a reply in another comment to try and make a context where this sentence would work.


    Nee, de pasta is de liefde


    In English you would not say the Pasta is The food. It would jist be the pasta is food...


    Why is "The food is the pasta." wrong?


    This had me wondering, but I chose "Pasta is food" because that is good English and should be accepted. "The pasta is the food" is not a sentence an English-speaker would ever say.


    The problem here is that in Dutch the inclusion of 'het' changes the meaning of the sentence: De pasta is het eten: (we are having dinner and) the food is pasta. Pasta is eten: pasta is a kind of food (in general).


    so what was wrong with; "The food is pasta"?

    Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.