"I love them a lot."
Translation:Eu os amo muito.
I know Duolingo is going out of its way to avoid discussing grammar but I don't think that's the right way in this case. I would never have guessed that ‘lhe’ is only dative had I not looked it up.
For reference, here's a table:
case [I] [you] [he] [she] [we] [you p] [they m/f] [reflexive]
nom. eu tu ele ela nós vós eles elas
dat. me te lhe lhe nos vos lhes lhes se
acc. me te o¹ a¹ nos vos os¹ as¹ se
prep. mim ti si
com: comigo contigo conosco convosco consigo
Omitted prepositionals take the nominative.
¹ After a verb: ‘-o’ becomes ‘-no’ after a nasal vowel. With X a consonant, ‘X-o’ becomes ‘-lo’; accent doesn't shift and must be marked if necessary.
Because "lhes" indicates an indirect object, while "os/as/los/las" indicate directs objects. And the verb "amar" (to love) is like: "who plays, plays something" (asks for a direct object) and not "he passed to us - indirect object - the ball". It's like: "you love someone" and then you have to use "eu os amo" or even "eu amo eles".
In English, we can use "them" to refer to a single person, either because we don't know their gender ("Whoever made this cake, I love them a lot!"), or because we don't want to disclose it (e.g. not wanting to disclose to someone that you're gay), or in other circumstances.
If these situations were to arise in Portuguese, and you wanted to refer to someone either without knowing their gender, or to hide their gender, is there a way to do that? Would you similarly use the plural here?