''Det'' and ''den''
Is it possible to use ''det'' constantly or is it a linguistic imperative to use ''den'' when discussing masculine and feminine? Will a conversation still make sense if I stick to the ''det'' form?
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You will probably be understood if you use "det" constantly in conversation, but it's not grammatically correct. In my opinion it would probably be better (easier to understand) if you default to "den" instead of "det" - because "det" is used in many set expressions, such as "Det regner" (it's raining).
So, yes: to speak grammatically correct it is a linguistic imperative to use "den" with masculine and feminine nouns, and "det" with neuter nouns. I'd recommend trying to learn the article/gender with all nouns. For instance: try to remember "en mann" in stead of just "mann".