It looks pretty logical at the beginning. You’ll quickly notice from the below example that “een” is the correct Dutch translation of “a” and “an”. But what’s the correct translation of “the”? You see two different Dutch word for “the”, you see “de” and “het”, but which one is the right one? Answer is, Yes they both are right so now the question is how to decide which one to be use when –

Lets start with few examples -

Hij is een vader He is a father
Zij is de moeder She is the mother
Het is de stoel It is the chair
Het is een stoel It is a chair

This has to do with the difficult concept of noun gender, a concept not known in English but is in almost every other language. In most other languages a noun has a certain gender. A noun has a certain gender in Dutch (and many other Germanic languages). There are three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Every noun (note that this gender concept only applies to nouns) has one of these three genders. How to determine what gender is very hard. In Dutch gender is not very important because it doesn’t effect many grammar rules. But nevertheless some grammar rules are dependent of the gender of the noun, so you’ll have to learn the gender of each noun.

In the next post we will learn more specifically about Gender and How to use ‘de’ and ‘het’!