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  5. "De vis is zijn avondeten."

"De vis is zijn avondeten."

Translation:The fish is his dinner.

August 9, 2014



I said "The fish is her dinner". Why wouldn't that be acceptable?


zijn = his, haar = her


Thanks! Now I get it. I just thought since "zij" is "she/they", "zijn" would be "her/their".


Indeed zij can mean either she or they, depending on the sentence, but this are two different meanings, similar so the singular you and plural you in English, the verb conjugation will tell you which of the two is meant.

  • Hij eet = He eats/He is eating
  • Zij eet = She eats/She is eating
  • Zij eten = They eat/They are eating
  • Zijn vis = His fish
  • Haar vis = Her fish
  • Hun vis = Their fish


I thought 'zijn=are'


It depends on the word type, the verb zijn = to be, the possessive zijn = his:

  • wij zijn hier = we are here
  • jullie zijn hier = you are here
  • zij zijn hier = they are here
  • het is leuk hier te zijn = it is nice to be here
  • ik zie zijn fiets = I see his bike

BTW it's better to learn the verb conjugations (ik ben, jij bent, hij is, wij zijn, jullie zijn, zij zijn) than to try to translate word for word, for instance: jij bent = you are, so here zijn = are doesn't work.


I got it, bedankt!


Isn't zijn also used for its? How do I know whether it's referring to a person or something else? I first thought this sentence was talking about a cat..


You're right. You can only know by context what the sentence is referring to. It could be a person, an animal or some magical fish eating table.


Lol, thank you!


Shouldn't 'the fish is his evening meal' be accepted? Where i live in england we call lunch dinner


I'm English, and I say dinner for the evening meal. I hardly ever call lunch dinner unless it is a cooked meal. But it's usually a sandwich or something light. So it's all about context.


Here in Canada we're not consistent either. Dinner can be either lunch or supper depending on who you're talking to and context, but it has the feel of being a more substantial meal. I would be loathe to call just a sandwich "dinner", but a large meal at lunchtime might fit it. As for me, I stick mostly to lunch and supper.


Do you not have a word for it in UK English or do you just call it "evening meal"


Most people call it tea


Not most people; maybe in Manchester or Leeds, but in belfast or london dinner is more common. Its really regiinal. Most people dont call trousers 'pants' in Stafford ...but they do in Bolton.
I think dinner might be more correct to the Queen's English... But I totally agree that in Wigan they'd call it tea.


Ha the old English class divide rears its head...


Zijn could be plural here too, no? "The fish is their dinner." Should be an allowable answer I think.


Nope, the possessive zijn means his or its. The fish is their dinner = De vis is hun avondeten.


A lot of people are asking this question. It's probably because 'zijn' has two meanings. It's either possessive as in 'zijn avondeten' or a plural verb of to be as in 'wij zijn'. Because of it's plural meaning in the verb, I guess people assume a plural possessive meaning as well, so make sure you get this:

Zijn avondeten = His dinner Wij zijn = We are Hun avondeten = Their dinner


I'm getting confused, wasn't zijn 'are/is' (plural)?


Zijn indeed is used for the plural conjugations of the verb zijn (to be):

  • wij zijn = we are
  • jullie zijn = you are
  • zij zijn = they are

However zijn can also be a possessive (his or its):

  • ik zie zijn fiets - I see his bike


If you asked about the fish - are they his? Would that be zijn zijn zij?


Zijn zij zijn I believe would work, but perhaps in parlance this wouldn't be used? Perhaps Zijn ze van hem? Or something else entirely!


DancingGeek is right. Dutch people would use 'Zijn ze van hem'. Zijn zij zijn sounds very weird to me, but I see where you're coming from. With this approach you could say 'Zijn ze de zijne?' but I suggest you forget that immediately since it's VERY formal and possibly never used.

Note that 'ze' as in 'zijn ze van hem?' is the same thing as 'zij'. So you could also say 'zij zij van hem?, but when those two are interchangeable, always go for 'ze' since that's more overly accepted in Dutch.


I wrote "The fish is to be dinner". I realise this may be a purely English construction that doesn't translate, but I'm curious to know if it is a possible interpretation of the Dutch. Perhaps it's more like a contraction of "The fish is to become dinner"?


The fish is to be dinner would probably translate to 'De vis gaat avondeten zijn' or 'De vis gaat avondeten worden'.


Is 'v' pronounced like "f" in Dutch? vis = fis, vers = fears? sort of?


No, the pronunciation is the same as English. It must be a different dialect.


I said The fish is his dinner, why is it saying another translation, The fish is his dinner.


So, in conclusion, what does zijn mean?


"Zijn" in Dutch can mean a number of things. In this case, "zijn" means "his," but it can also mean "to be" (when in the infinitive form or when in plural).


The word "meal" which is the correct answer is not an option given me


Avondeten is dinner or the evening meal maaltijd is meal

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