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  5. "The cat drinks its milk."

"The cat drinks its milk."

Translation:De kat drinkt zijn melk.

August 23, 2014



Could it be like "de kat drinkt haar melk"? (assuming you have no idea about the gender of the cat)


You'd only use haar if you knew that the cat is a female cat. When you don't know the gender of the cat, then normally zijn is used.


There's another word for cat in Dutch, which is "poes" (a female cat) so you can definitely use "haar" in that case. FYI, "poes" also has a bit of a vulgar connotation, if you know what I mean.


Actually cats are sort of an exception most people insist on seeing all cats as female and all dogs as male.

Even my mother said her and she to my male cat, while she knew. It is something that is hard to get out of your system.

(And I just happened to see an english gameshow this week and someone made a joke about the exact same subject. That as a kid they used to think that cats were female dogs or something. So it might be a thing that isn't unfamiliar to the UK either. Otherwise it is a big coincidence)

So cats are often referred to as female as a standard and dogs as male.


I got the awnser wrong and the correction was " De kat drinkt z'n melk". Pray tell what is z'n?


In this context it's a contracted form of the possessive determiner zijn.


So if I were trying to say "The cat drinks his milk", would I use 'zijn' as well? How could you tell the difference between the two sentences?


It will depend on the context:

De melk van de jongen valt op de grond. De kat drinkt zijn melk. = The boy's milk falls on the ground. The cat drinks his milk.


Ik geef de kat melk. De kat drinkt zijn melk. = I give the cat milk. The cat drinks its milk.


Ah okay, that's what I assumed, dank je wel!


I agree. To say you choose by context only works if the context is clear. Here it’s or his could equally apply.


Why is "ervan" wrong here? Isn't that the alternative possessive? Why is it not acceptable here?


Well, in this context you can't use ervan, it's not a possessive. Ervan means 'from it, of it' ( https://www.vandale.nl/gratis-woordenboek/nederlands-engels/vertaling/Ervan#.W4CljKgaU0M ).

The only way of using ervan would be if you had already mentioned the milk and so don't want to repeat yourself:

Er is daar een kom melk. De kat drinkt ervan.

[deactivated user]

    I have the same question!


    Why not - The cat drinks his milk


    How would you know when to use "de" or "het"

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