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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Idit here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Hebrew questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What does the Hebrew word אֶת (et) mean, and when do you use it?
The Hebrew language has unique syntax, and it can be quite confusing. One of the words that’s used very frequently in Hebrew sentences is אֶת (et), a word that has no equivalent in English. It’s a preposition used to introduce a direct object.
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use אֶת correctly.
The word את is used between a verb and the direct object it refers to, for example, “to find the keys” would be
לִמְצֹא אֶת הַמַּפְתְּחוֹת (lim’tzo et ha’mafteħot). Another example, “to take the medicine,” would be לָקַחַת אֶת הַתְּרוּפָה (lakaħat et ha’trufa)
אֶת is also used when the direct object is a proper noun; so, if it’s people, places or organizations, or a personal pronoun such as “I” or “you.”
When using personal pronouns, it’s incorporated into the form of אֶת (et). For example,
לְחַבֵּק אוֹתוֹ (leħabek oto) meaning “to hug him,” אֶת (et) + הוּא (hu)
לְבַקֵּר אוֹתָה (levaker ota) meaning “to visit her” אֶת (et) + הִיא (hee)
לְהַחְבִּיא אוֹתָם (le’haħbi otam) meaning “to hide them” אֶת (et) + הֵם (hem)
לְהַזִיז אוֹתְךָ (le’haziz ot’kha) meaning “to move you” אֶת (et) + אַתָה (ata)
The situation is different if the direct object is indefinite; that means the object isn’t specified or doesn’t have an owner. In English, we usually use the article "a" when we talk about indefinite objects. For example, we say "a banana," instead of "the banana" when we're not talking about a particular banana. When this happens, אֶת (et) is simply dropped and no other preposition is used instead. For example, to find a random set of keys is-
לִמְצֹא מַפְתְּחוֹת (lim’tzo mafteħot) “to find keys.”
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!