Das is "the", singular, neuter, nominative (all at the same time)
Dass is "that"
What is the difference between the German das and dass (previously daß)?
- "Das" is the neuter determiner. ("Das Boot")
"Daß" means "that", as you would use to connect two clauses. For example, "I didn't know THAT you would be coming to dinner."10
- "Weil seine Nase lang und spitz war dachte man das der Mann neugierig war."
--This one should be dass (which is always preceded by a comma: "Weil seine Nase lang und spitz war, dachte man, dass der Mann neugierig war."
Dass means "that" as a conjunction joining two clauses: "I know that he is right" or "Did you know that she forgot my name?" It doesn't ever change its form and doesn't refer to any preceding word.
"Ich sah gestern ein Tier, das sofort weglief."
--This sentence is correct. It is the relative pronoun corresponding to "which" or "that" in English and agrees with its antecedent--Tier and das are both neuter. If you were talking about a dog, your sentence would be "Ich sah gestern einen Hund, der sofort weglief." Hund and der are both masculine.
I can see why the two seem similar to you--relative pronouns, like conjunctions, join two clauses. The key difference is that a relative pronoun refers to something in the preceding sentence.
A simpler use of das is as a personal pronoun in sentences like "Was ist das?" and "Ist das deine Mutti?" where das refers to a person or object.
I hope this helps a bit.10
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