"The dog is eating the rabbit."
Translation:De hond eet het konijn.
It is a little random; you will just have to memorize which nouns use which. It's not entirely random, though.
De is "gendered"; there used to be more gender rules in Dutch, but now it's mostly that the words that used to have a gender use De. Het is "ungendered."
This means that almost all "person words" like professions use De, while a lot of place words like museums use Het. Animals that we think of as friends are De, food and work animals usually Het.
All plurals are De. All diminutives (they end with -je, including meisje) are Het. There are some more rules but you will really just need to memorize the De/Het along with every noun.
de hond is aan het konijn eten, (that means that is eating), and you guys are saying '' De hond eet het konijn op.(that means he eats the rabbit) but that doesn't mean that he is eating right now.
It does. Dutch does not have a continuous tense like English. Hence, de hond eet can translate to the simple present and the present continuous.
You can formulate a "continuous" by using zijn + aan het + infinitive which emphasises that something is happening at this moment. De hond is aan het eten means it is happening now and can only translate to the present continuous.
To formulate this sentence like that it will be:
- De hond is het konijn aan het eten.
Note that the infinitive of the verb follows aan het.
Where does the word konijn come from? German (Hase) and French (lapin) don't help, yet in English we have an old word coney as in Coney Island or The Lord of the Rings ("What a hobbit needs with coney is some herbs and roots") and in Irish coinín - "Istigh i bpoll tá leaba agamsa" arsa an coinín. ("Inside a hole I have a bed" said the rabbit).
We have "haas" as well, which is a hare (so it's different from a "konijn").
German has "Kaninchen", Danish has "kanin", Norwegian "kanin", Swedish "kanin" and even Finnish "kani" and "kaniini".
Etymology of "konijn": http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/konijn
I thought that de means the and het means a but that's not true is it? So some nouns come with een, some with het and some with de??
Een is always "a". De or Het are both "the" and you just have to learn whether each noun is a "de noun" or "het noun." If you have to guess, most nouns use de.
- Plural nouns always use de. (Look at the plurals lesson)
- Diminutives always use het. (Look at the diminutives lesson)
- There are a lot of other patterns, like buildings and farm animals are usually het.
I know there's a whole Duolingo article on de and het, or any other Dutch learning site, it's an important topic so you can find a lot of examples and flashcards.
- a cat = een kat
- the cat = de kat
the kitty (diminutive) = het katje
a horse = een paard
- the horse = het paard
- the horses (plural) = de paarden