"Den er min."

Translation:It's mine.

May 27, 2015

This discussion is locked.


What is the difference between "det" and "den".


I know this is quite late but, hopefully, it helps someone else who is stuck with this. I believe that "Det" is used for neuter nouns or for things where the gender is unknown and "Den" is used for masculine/feminine things.


So would, "Det er mitt" be proper if the thing that is "mine" has an unknown gender? I'm really confused by this subject.


Well, here's the basics...

"Det" and "den" can both translate as "it" (or "that"). That is, they're pronouns for inanimate objects, in contrast with words like "he" and "she", which are pronouns for people. However, "det" refers back to something that's grammatically neuter, and "den" refers back to something that's grammatically masculine or feminine.

I have a house. It is big.
Jeg har et hus. Det er stort.

I have a car. It is big.
Jeg har en bil. Den er stor.

So, in the context of this Duo exercise, you've got the pattern, "It is [adjective]" ("min" isn't normally classed as an adjective anymore, but pretend I didn't say that). The sentence is apparently referring back to some noun, because it's weird to say, "It is [adjective]" out of the blue, unless you've already introduced or at least thought of a noun. So, either "Det er mitt" or "Den er min" are acceptable answers.

There's one important exception. When you're using a pronoun to introduce a noun (rather than refer back to a noun), use "det" (or "dette" for "this"), regardless of the gender or number of the upcoming noun.

English can do something similar in response to "what" and "who" questions.

What do you have in the bag? -- It is clothes. They are a present for grandmother.
Hva har du i posen? -- Det er klær. De er en gave til bestemor.
--> So, even though "klær" is plural, "det" is used to introduce it. After "klær" is introduced, then you use the plural pronoun "de" to refer back to the word.

Who is at the door? -- It is a man. He looks like Santa Claus.
Hvem er på døra? -- Det er en mann. Han ser ut som julenissen.
--> Even though "mann" is animate and masculine, "det" introduces, then "han" is used to refer back to "mann".


Could you also say "Den er mi?" since "den" is m/f?


Does this imply that the subject is necessarily masculine? Or is masculine the default if the gender is undetermined?


It implies that the subject is singular and masculine or feminine.

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