Can someone explain me why this isn't "Zijn zij" or "Zij zijn"? I don't understand this "het" here :s
Since you are also learning French, look at Het in a similar way as Ce in French. Just like Ce in French you can use Het for singular things or for plural things.
With objects in the same sentence you would use Het and not Zij/Ze. Like this sentence and e.g.
- Het zijn oude kranten - They are old newspapers
- Het zijn mooie huizen. - They are nice houses
If you were to refer back to objects in a previous sentence you could use Zij/Ze. E.g.
- Waar zijn de boeken? Ze liggen op de tafel. (Ze refers to de boeken)
- Where are the books? They are on the table.
- Heb je de kranten? Ja, ze zijn al hier. (ze refers to de kranten
- Do you have the newspapers? Yes, they are already here
This is the sort of point which needs to be in a tips & notes somewhere. Maybe in the second Dutch tree?
Wow, thanks! That's really helpful! Is it ok if I keep on thinking with the "ce" comparison of French? Maybe this should become more natural as I learn, but it could help on the beginning.
You can think of the French ce when it means it, because het can only mean it, and not this or that (whereas the French ce can).
'Het' can be translated as either 'it' or 'the', however, unlike the English analogue, as a pronoun 'het' can be plural not just singular. In English 'it' is used as a singular neuter pronoun and the plural neuter pronoun is 'they'. In Dutch, 'het' can be a singular neuter pronoun ('it' singular) or a plural neuter pronoun (as 'it' singular or as a neuter form of 'they') 'Het' is being used as a pronoun here - in this case, it is functioning as the plural neuter pronoun ('it' plural or as neuter 'they'.) In this instance the matter is complicated a bit by the subject-verb inversion. For those of us who are new to this difference in usage - noobs such as myself - this means that it takes us a bit longer to figure out what is going on.
Am I the only one with difficulties understanding the recording of the word "het"?
In Dutch "het" is often pronounced as 't or ut. Have a look on this website for more pronunciations: http://www.heardutchhere.net/DutchPronunciation.html
Look for 't (e-voiceless) and for het (e-short)
I thought plural nouns used "de"? Is "het" used with plural nouns preceded by adjectives?
Plural nouns use "de" as the article.
The tricky thing here is that "het" is being used as a pronoun: "they", as the verb "zijn" has an object: "de kranten".
Het and De are just two different definite articles. In English we just have The. Het is for neuter words, while De is for both masculine and feminine, as I understand it.
Normally, "krant" and "kranten" use the definite article "de". Why is "het" used in the sentence above?
'Het' is the subject in this sentence. It does not translate to 'the' but to 'they' (as in Dutch, non-living things in plural are referred to as 'het' (it) not 'zij' (they)).
so it literally reads as "it are" if you say "het zijn" but "Zijn het" means are they? is ZIJN HET only used for non living object? how about HET ZIJN? Is it MANDATORY in dutch to always say Zijn Het when you want to say are they? what about Zijn zij/ze?
'Het zijn' and 'zijn het' follow the same principle: it's used for non-living things (e.g. chairs or whatever). It is "mandatory", because using 'ze/zij' for this sounds really weird. 'Zij/Ze zijn' is used for living-things; people/animals... :)