박희섭(Heesob Park)
What does "dit grote mens" mean? What does "dit grote mens" mean in the following sentence? Hopelijk zullen de kinderen mij vergeven dat ik dit boek aan een groot mens heb opgedragen. Ik heb er een goede reden voor: dit grote mens is de beste vriend, die ik op de wereld heb. There are two questions in the above sentence. 1) Why "een groot mens" was used instead of "een grote mens"? I understand the difference between "een groot mens" and "een grote mens". I don't understand why there is no consistency between "een groot mens" and "dit grote mens". 2) Why "dit grote mens" was used instead of "deze grote mens"? Is "dit" allowed to used instead of "deze"?
Dec 7, 2017 4:33 AM
Answers · 7
The word "mens" is special, because you can have both "de mens" and "het mens". "Het mens" is used when you refer to a particular person, and "de mens" when you are talking about people in general. "Dit grote mens" in your example refers to a particular adult, so the correct article would be "het mens". Generally when you use the term "het mens" in Dutch, you are referring to a woman who's not very nice, like Ron mentioned. However, that's not the case in your example. The term "groot mens" is commonly used by children to refer to an adult person. 1) With "de words" you use "grote". Example: de bloem -- de grote bloem -- een grote bloem With "het words" you use "grote" after "het", but "groot" after "een". Example: het kleed -- het grote kleed -- een groot kleed In your example it would be "het mens" -- "het grote mens" --"een groot mens". 2) "Deze" is used with "de" words or plural and "dit" is used with "het" words. Examples: Het huis --> dit grote huis -- De boom --> deze grote boom In your example it would be "het mens" --> "dit grote mens".
December 9, 2017
Depending on the context, "een groot mens" can either simply mean a large human or an adult. In this case, the second meaning makes more sense. As for why it is "een groot mens" instead of "een grote mens"... good question. Generally if you have a noun this difference depends on the gender of the noun; is it "de [noun]" or "het [noun]". For example: "de tafel", so "een grote tafel" but "het boek", so "een groot boek". Both "de mens" and "het mens" are possible, which makes this a little more complicated. I don't even know if there is a logical explanation for this one, all I know is that "een groot mens" sounds correct and "een grote mens" does not. The words "dit" en "deze" are a different topic. In English there are only the words "this" and "that". Both "dit" en "deze" mean "this". The difference is, again, in the gender of the noun that follows it: "de tafel", so "deze tafel" but "het boek", so "dit boek". The meaning is the same, but no, you cannot replace "dit" by "deze" or vice versa, because of grammar. If there is an adjective after "dit" or "deze" it always has the "de" form, "grote" rather than "groot": "deze grote tafel" and also "dit grote boek". Therefore "dit grote mens" is correct.
December 8, 2017
'Een groot mens' and 'dit grote mens' are not necessarily inconsistent. Let's change 'mens' to 'schrijver'. We would say 'de schrijver', 'een groot schrijver', but 'de grote schrijver'. The plural would be '(de) grote schrijvers'. To me, 'een groot schrijver/schilder/artiest' is used when we want to describe someone and focus on the 'greatness' of his or her qualities. As soon as we use the definite article 'de', we are no longer describing them as such, but their 'greatness' becomes a given. At least, this is what it feels like to me when I say these phrases in my mind. What makes it a bit tricky with 'mens', is that we also distinguish between 'de mens' (human being) and 'het mens' (unpleasant woman).
December 8, 2017
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박희섭(Heesob Park)
Language Skills
English, Finnish, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Swedish, Vietnamese
Learning Language
Norwegian