"The women speak."
Translation:De vrouwen spreken.
Use de with common (masculine/feminine) words and het with neuter words. Which gender a word has is basically arbitrary.
de vogel (the bird) M
de deur (the door) F
het vuur (the fire) N
You don't really need to remember which words are feminine and which ones are masculine, but you do need to remember which are de-woorden and which are het-woorden.
Regardless of gender, though, use de with plural words.
de vogels (the birds)
de deuren (the doors)
de vuren (the fires)
Them's the basic rules.
Per my understanding, both het and de can be used in place of "the". Please clarify.
De and het are not interchangeable; that would just be useless and confusing. Instead, there are two words for "the" because Dutch has two grammatical genders while English has zero. You use either het or de depending on the gender and number.
Use de with common words (this has nothing to do with how common the word is, it's just common gender). These are also known as de-woorden (de words), and about three quarters of Dutch nouns fall under this category.
Use het with neuter words. These are also known as het-woorden (het words), and about a quarter of Dutch nouns fall under this category.
the girl (neuter because of the diminitive -je)
No matter the gender, use de with plural words.
So de is used here because vrouw is a de-word AND because vrouwen is plural. Het vrouwen would be double-wrong.