No, "hun" is used for indirect object and "hen" is used for direct object. What do I see? The answer is the direct object. If you had "I give them the water.", then "water" would be the direct object and "them" would be the indirect object. So it would be "Ik geef hun het water." Both could be replaced with "ze" which is the unstressed version. Check the Tips & Notes at the top of the lesson.
In Dutch, we use two different pronouns for 'them' referring to persons: One for the indirect object (hun) and one for the direct object (hen).
We can even make things more complicated: When the pronoun is preceded by a preposition, we always use hen, even though it is not a direct object (which is never preceded by a preposition).
It's an archaic usage--only preserved in a few places, like the following children's rhyme (usually spoken while removing petals from a flower, one-by-one): "She loves me, she loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not..." (until there are no petals left--and there's your answer!).
I find this a bit strange. I thought hun is uses before mentioning an object that belongs to someone but hen when just talking about people in general. Hun auto's zijn groot in dit land. = hun auto's Dat zijn hun huizen. = hun huizen
Ik heb het van hen gehoord = van hen Ik heb hen gebeld.= hen gebeld
Isn't this right?
Yes, this would seem acceptable, if a bit curious: "Hun auto's zijn groot in dit land." (Their cars are big in this country.) "Dit zijn hun huizen." (These are their houses.)
So, the cars grow smaller when they cross the border; this must mean the cars are merely relatively large. Other than that, "their" is translated as "hun", which is fine.
What is the thing that you find strange?
het can be used for "the" and "it" and in this sentence "them"
No, "het" cannot be used instead of "them". "Them" as a direct object will always be "hen" (stressed) or "ze" (unstressed).
how would I specifically say "I see it" (seeing as I can't use het)
In this sentence, it depends if the noun you are referring to is a de woord or a het woord. If the noun uses "het", you say "Ik zie het". If the noun uses "de", you can always say "Ik zie hem". If the noun is feminine, you could also say "Ik zie haar".
I can't help you with the spelling of "please", but I can give you some hints regarding "them".
- 1 Standard Dutch is an artificial language, and in this case it shows. If you're in doubt, rephrase to avoid the problem. Otherwise: Ignore rules that have been torturing speakers for age, but instead use what appears to become the new standard:
- 2 Say "hen" to speak of humans etc.
- 3 Say "zich" when translating "themselves" etc.
4 Say "ze" when speaking of anything else.
5 As a side note: Use "hun" to translate "their".
Don't blame me if some movement changes this natural development again. Make your mistakes with certainty; very few will ever even wonder is you're correct.
Oh, and "hem" means "him". A similar system to "hen/hun/ze" was designed for that case, but in the end it's simply "zijn" (his) or "hem" (him).