Hen, hun en ze. The mind-blowing experience of.

It turned out that there are two words for “them” in Dutch when it comes to people — hen and hun.  And there’s the third word for “them” to refer to things — ze.

Ze
De vrouw heeft de appelen. – The woman has the apples.
De vrouw heeft ze. – The woman has them.


Hen en hun

When referring to people, the difference appears between a direct object and an indirect object.

Het meisje ziet de vrienden
. – The girl sees the friends
Zij ziet hen. – She sees them

Here het meisje is the subject and de vrienden are the direct object.


Het meisje geeft de vrienden een foto – The girl gives the friends a photo.
Zij geeft hun een foto – She gives them a photo.

In this case, what the girl gives is the direct object, it’s the photo. She gives it to friends, who are the indirect object. This is when hun kicks in.

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