"De meisjes schrijven hun een boek."

Translation:The girls write them a book.

August 9, 2014

43 Comments


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

It is 'hen', not 'hun'. 'Hun' is widely used in spoken Dutch in The Netherlands, but linguistically 'hen' is vastly superior in written language.

December 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

In the sentence DL gives us here, "een boek" is the direct object, and "hun" is being used as an indirect object. So the debate over whether to use "hun" as a direct object does not really apply. Many authorities say that the indirect object is "hun", and that is what DL correctly uses as the indirect object here.

May 28, 2019

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

Wait, are the direct object pronouns the same as the indirect object pronouns in dutch? I may have gotten the correct answer, but I was assuming this skill would be about direct object pronouns as indirect objects tend to trip people up more.

August 9, 2014

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

The direct object pronoun is hen or hun. The Dutch language regulator prefers hen but also acknowledges that it isn't used as much as hun. Hen was artificially created by a grammarian because he wanted Dutch to be more like Latin. Most people will use hun, even in formal context.

August 9, 2014

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

While that's incredibly interesting (because I love learning about how languages have evolved over time and if I wasn't studying to be an astrophysicist I'd definitely be a linguist), hun is definitely being used as an indirect object here. Though I did just reread the tips and notes section for the skill and saw the note that explained that "After the indirect object, you use hun."

The only thing left for me to know is if the rest of the object pronouns in that table are also indirect object pronouns, not just direct object pronouns. But I greatly appreciate the knowledge and assistance anyway :-]

August 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cr48laptop

The distinction (as far as I know) between direct and indirect object pronouns is only present between hun/hen. The other object pronouns can be used as either direct or indirect objects.

September 6, 2014

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

'Hun' is and always has been a possessive pronoun, like 'hun kat, hun boek'. It is grammatically absolutely incorrect to translate 'them' into 'hun'. It should be 'hen', even when some parts of the Netherlands say 'hun'. One should learn a language properly and not what is common in certain regions.

July 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

In the sentence DL gives us here, "een boek" is the direct object, and "hun" is being used as an indirect object. So the debate over whether to use "hun" as a direct object does not really apply. Many authorities say that the indirect object is "hun", and that is what DL correctly uses as the indirect object here.

May 28, 2019

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

Little Women?

September 14, 2014

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

Meisje is the diminutive of meid which means girl.

September 14, 2014

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

Thanks for the tip! I knew that, I was just referencing a book it reminded me of.

September 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariaGomez494158

What is the difference between "hun" and "ze" ??

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ark5731

In this context, it is like the difference between "them" and "they". Note: "hun" can also be used as "their", like in "hun boek" (their book).

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sylvester1985

actually in this context, ze and hun would both mean 'them', and be interchangeable

February 13, 2018

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

I'm no expert, but I don't recognise "write them a book" as making sense in English. I would expect it to be "write themselves a book"

February 22, 2018

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

The translation cannot be 'themselves' because that's a reflexive pronoun (hun is not a reflexive pronoun). But you specifically said your issue was with the English, so I'll focus on that instead.

It is indeed correct English, and actually more like how it would have been in Old English as well (and by Old English, I mean way back when the language was still very Germanic). "To write someone something" is the same as "to write something to someone". This is an example of how word order carries with it morphological information in English, whereas other languages with inflectional morphology will likely mark/change the pronoun in some way (like with German for example).

It is probably the case that whatever dialect of English you speak/are around (assuming you're a native English speaker; sorry if I'm wrong about that) doesn't typically use this construction. I'd even say that most dialects will not really use it. It is much more literary and poetic to phrase it this way, but that does not change the fact that it is correct English.

February 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

Colin, both "they write them a book" and "they write themselves a book" are correct English, but they mean different things.

In the first instance, they are writing the book on behalf of other people, in the second instance on behalf of themselves.

September 30, 2018

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

I thought "hun" was "their"? But now "hun" is "their" and "them"?! I thought "hen" was "them"? Confused :(

April 14, 2018

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

"hun" and "hen" mean the same and both refer to "them". "Ik geef hun een boek". "Le'ts help them" is "Laten we hen helpen" (hen is interchangeble with hun, not the other way around)

"hun" can also be a posessive pronoun in which it means "their": "their book" is "hun boek"

So you are right and maybe you already knew all this, but it might be good to write it out

And oh ... it's also confusing to a lot of Dutch people, so ...

July 24, 2018

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

Very unusual English. Potentially confusing.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ark5731

In spite of what is being said, the only correct Dutch here is 'hen', not 'hun'. A pity Duo still contains an error like this.

July 24, 2015

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

Even dutch natives like me have dificulty with "hen" and "hun", so don't worry.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

ark5731, in the sentence DL gives us here, "een boek" is the direct object, and "hun" is being used as an indirect object. So the debate over whether to use "hun" as a direct object is irrelevant. Everyone agrees that the indirect object is "hun", and that is what DL correctly uses as the indirect object here.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kubrt77

So, as I see it, this effectively means something along the lines of "The girls are writing a book for them" - them being a different group of people, as in "The girls are writing a book for someone", as a fun activity to spend a rainy afternoon, curlep up in a corner of their cosy upstairs room. Guess correct? I just feel it might be a good idea for the editors to replace this sentence in this exercise with another that is less confusing to learners and more useful. Please? Can we vote on that?

April 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AudreyBert6

The 'correct translation' in English would be: 'The girls are writing a book'

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

False. The correct translation into English includes mention of the person or persons for whom the book is being written.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanyellWal1

I suppose that in first being corrected, I read the correct sentence and it sounded wrong in my head, but as I move forward, I can see how it makes sense, if only for the example of: "I'm writing him a letter."

January 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gita-ji

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better

Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago.

He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,

Just 'on spec', addressed as follows, 'Clancy of The Overflow'.
Banjo Paterson, 1889

May 12, 2019

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

"The girls write a book to them"

April 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

I think a native English speaker would more likely use "for" here intead of "to": "The girls write a book for them".

But of course you are right that in general, in English an indirect object can be replaced by a prepositional phrase using "to" or some other appropriate preposition.

April 2, 2019

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

thanks.

April 2, 2019

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

the girls are writing a book for themselves. Why is this not accepted?

December 22, 2016

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

Hun is not a reflexive pronoun here. It does not refer back to the girls, it is talking about an entirely different group. So when you translate this as "The girl wrote them a book" it means the same as "The girl wrote a book to them". *(see edit) Also, the sentence only has "meisje" in it, which is singular, i.e. there is only one girl, so using "themselves" here makes even less sense.

Edit: Whoops! Forgot to look at the sentence again. There are indeed multiple girls, my apologies.

December 22, 2016

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

Aw i suppose whats confusing me is the hun/hen thing. Hun translates as their , at least in google. I see the conversation above. Well thanks for the help

January 3, 2017

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

if it's the girls write them a book why does it make the translation "The girls write a book for them." When you get the translation wrong? lol duolingo needs to get it together lol

March 14, 2018

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

How do you write someone a book?

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

"to write someone a book" means to write a book intended for someone or on behalf of some one. Compare: I baked him a pie.

September 30, 2018

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

it has to be ''de meisjes schrijven HEN een boek''. to write them means ''aan hen schrijven'' not ''hun'' ''hun'' is possesive

June 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

You are dead wrong. The word "hun" is also used as the indirect object meaning "them".

In the sentence DL gives us here, "een boek" is the direct object, and "hun" is being used as an indirect object. So the debate over whether to use "hun" as a direct object is irrelevant. Everyone agrees that the indirect object is "hun", and that is what DL correctly uses as the indirect object here.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColmMaguir1

this makes no sense whatsoever. The translation into English is not English, the girls write them a book? Who Themselves? It's nonsense

January 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

The English is OK. It is similar to "I baked them a pie." It means that I baked a pied for them.

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tany466040

write is a direct object. So why not HEN, instead od HUN?

September 21, 2017

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

I'm sorry, what? 'Write' is verb, the direct object in this sentence is 'een boek' (a book) and the indirect object is 'hun' ([to/for] them). Since it's the IO, hun is used, not hen.

In the future, please ask politely why something differs from the way you thought it was instead of asserting things that might be false (and in this case, are definitely not true).

September 21, 2017
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