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  5. "They are not sheep."

"They are not sheep."

Translation:Het zijn geen schapen.

February 6, 2015



Any explanation on het versus zij for they in this sentence. Is it because it's referring to an animal versus a person?


A native speaker just told me you coud use either, "het" being more general ("they aren't sheep", without stressing the "they") and "zij" more specific (that specific group of animals are not sheep).


Yes, very much so!


Why we are using 'geen' instead of niet here?


'niet' is used for adjectives and adverbs. 'geen' is used for nouns.


Is anyone able to answer the 'het' versus 'zij' question above? As well as 'geen' versus 'niet' ..?


I think it's always 'geen' before a noun. But I wish someone would answer the het vs. zij question.


Het zijn geen schapen omdat het zijn schapen niet. (Yes, both mean the same, but hopefully that answered that part of the question :) )


geen is used to negate nouns, while niet is used to negate non-nouns or "the [noun]"


When do I put the negative before the verb and when do I put it after?


As far as I'm aware the negative always comes later in the sentence than the verb that the negative is related to.


I thought, "geen" - no/don't have any, and, "niet" - are/am/is not, i.e. "ik heb geen appels", vs "ik been niet groot"? So, in my mind it should be, " ik been niet schap. Otherwise, this would translate to, "they are no sheep", which sounds funny.


geen is used for nouns and niet for adjectives/ adverbs... so you were right in a way, when one says 'are/am/is not...' it is usually followed with an adjective but not in this case, unfortunately


zijn means ''they are'' geen means 'not', so why do i have to put ze ''she'' in front


This question is a bit of a stretch, but in the context where we use sheep as a human being that follow the others without thought, can the sheep in the sentence be singular? It would be like "they are not human", when we might refer to aliens. And in this case, it would be in a discussion like "They are not sheep, they'll know what to do" and the sheep would be singular. In short, I was wondering if it is possible to write a sentence in Dutch like "Ze zijn geen mens" or "Ze zijn geen schaap".


no because when you say "they are not human" the "human" is in this case an adjective, not a noun, so the "sheep" in "they are not sheep" is still plural.


Het zijn geen schapen- why does het mean they?


why is it "het zijn" and not "ze/zij zijn"?


Don't worry, you are right! It should be 'ze/zij'. Duo is wrong here: 'they' is never 'het'!


I'm slightly puzzled by the English translation. The Dutch sentence looks perfectly normal to me, but my (German-thinking) brain understands "Das sind keine Schafe", i.e. These aren't sheep...??


I would translate it as "They're not sheep". "They/These/Those are not sheep" are all correct possibilities, but not the same. "these" would not be my first choice because it has a very specific use, and is different from "they" and "those" (do these differences not exist in German?). "are no sheep" is also possible, but in English that's not equivalent to "are not sheep".


Thank you, Brian! Yeah, German has become a bit weird that way (I presume that it must historically worked just the same as English and Dutch) and both forms have pretty much collapsed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demonstrative#Distal_and_proximal_demonstratives (scroll down a fair bit for the bit on German)

It looks like I've rather fallen victim to the Sapir-Worf hypothesis in this respect; learning English I could wrap my head around considering if something is proximal or distal just fine (which later helped me when I moved to Austria, because Austrian German absolutely preserves the distinction which German German seemed happy to lose), but it seems I can't keep the article and the demonstrative straight if distance is not the distinguishing feature. :p

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