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https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaPoot

grijs and grijze

AnnaPoot
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Just completed a section on colors. Why is it "een grijze muis" but "een grijs ei" ? Both are singular nouns. The "discuss" option wasn't available to me so that's why I'm brining the question to the forum. I thought the "e" ending indicated plural??

3 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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The adjectives do not change due to "pluralness", but rather if they are de- nouns or het- nouns. Het ei and de muis. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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Yup, and the change in spelling is due to a word not being able to end in a "z" (which is why you would write singular huis although it's plural huizen, for example).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaPoot
AnnaPoot
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Thank you. But I seem to recall an earlier lesson (and this could be my imagination!) where a certain word used "het" at one point, and "de" at another. Is that possible as well? (Maybe that's why my boy cousins laughed at me in 1972 when I went to Holland for a visit - I'm sure I wasn't using the correct articles before the nouns - it was still mean of them, though!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Plural nouns always use "de", if that's what you are referring to. :) *For the most part, not a native speaker. :P

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/asalade
asalade
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There are some words that can be both de and het and may or may not change meaning depending which one you use.

De hof/het hof

De idee/het idee

And those are all I can think of now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Simius
Simius
Mod
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A number of people have given some good rules of thumb, but I think it is important to also have the complete picture:

An adjective gets the ending -e when:

  • It modifies a de-word, or:
  • It modifies a plural noun, or:
  • It modifies a het-word with a definite article (het) or determiner (dit, dat).

It does not get the ending when:

  • It modifies a singular het-word with an indefinite article (een) or determiner (elk, welk, zulk, geen), or:
  • It modifies an uncountable het-word without an article.

There's a further explanation and more examples here.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/charlotte_12

Perhaps you could use as a rule of thumb that adjectives always end in 'e' except when you use 'een' in combination with a het- noun. Examples: muis is a de- noun. So it is een groene muis, de groene muis, de groene muizen. man is a de- noun. Therefore: een kleine man, de kleine man, de kleine mannen. huis is a het- noun. So it is een KLEIN huis, het kleine huis, de kleine huizen. Remark: The fact that it is grijze instead of grijse and witte instead of wite and grote instead of groote etc. are things I am afraid you just have to try to remember.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaPoot
AnnaPoot
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Thank you - that is helpful as well. I read Dutch often, but I guess I'm not internalizing the differences.

3 years ago