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Het Or De?

Okay, I probably missed a lesson or something but I am really having trouble with this part of Dutch. Is there a specific rule for the translation of 'the' or do you just have to memorize it? Like in this example sentence: Wij hebben het bord. (I probably wrote that wrong)

Is het even right? Please answer, my Dutch is horrid.

December 19, 2014



When words are neuter, you use "het". Masculine and feminine words both have "de" as article nowadays (a long time ago it wasn't like that). Plural words also get "de". Btw, you didn't write "We have the plate" wrong :). It's very nice that you are learning Dutch, not many people do, because it is an unimportant language with "only" 20 million speakers. Good luck!

And some more rules:


About 75% of the words have the article de and about 25% of the words are thus het words. De' is always used for the plural ‘De’ is always used for professions: ‘de kok’ (the chef), ‘de bewaker’ (the guard) ‘De’ tends to be used for people with an identified gender, such as: ‘de vader’ (the father), ‘de dochter’ (the daughter). ‘De’ is also used for vegetables, fruits, trees and plants, names of mountains and rivers Furthermore, 'de' is also used for the words ending with -ie,- ij, -heid, -teit,-a, -nis, -st, -schap, -de, -te, -iek, -ica, -theek, -iteit, -tuur, -stuur, -sis, -xis, -tis, -ade, -ide, -ode, -ude, -age, -ine, -se, -ea, -esse

Finally, ‘de’ is used for written-out numbers and letters: ‘de drie’ (the three); ‘de a’ (the a).


'Het' is always used for a diminutive ‘Het’ is also always used for words consisting of two syllables and starting with be-, ge-, ver-, ont- 'Het' is always used for languages, names of metals, words ending with -isme, -ment and for words derived from verbs. ‘Het’ is used for names of compass points: ‘het noorden’ (the North). 'Het' is also used for the gerund: 'het zwemmen' (swimming), 'het dansen' (dancing), etc. ‘Het’ is used for names of sports and games: ‘het schaken’ (chess), ‘het voetbal’ (football)

I hope this helped


Fantastic! Second-guessing myself on "het" or "de" always loses me time in the Timed Practice!


No problem! Where are you from if I may ask


I am from the United States originally, though now I live in Japan.


That's great! Do you like Japan? They have square melons :)


The square melons are a novelty. I can only very rarely afford fruit here. It's quite expensive.


We only have purple ones, but that most of the times means they are rotten.


Thank you so much! This really helped. (It might have been a little too helpful even)


No problem! and where are you from?


I'm from the U.S.A., English is my first language, but that must be pretty obvious.


There isn't really a difference, you just have to memorize them. Here is a link that might help: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=NounsAndArticles.03

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