What is the logic behind referring to "three kids" as either

три ребенка

or, alternatively,

трое детей?

Why do you use different words for "three"?

EDIT: Since this seems to be the "human animate plural", let me alter the question to:

Why does "детей" qualify for this plural, while "ребенка" does not?

  • 1
    This has been asked (and answered) here already, search for "human animate plural".
    – tum_
    Aug 16 '19 at 18:55
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of human animate plural - двое, трое,
    – Alexander
    Aug 16 '19 at 19:41
  • 2
    As for the edited question - collective numerals require a noun in its plural form. "Ребёнок" is a singular form, while "дети" is a plural form.
    – VaNdal
    Aug 17 '19 at 8:41
  • Why, you can say "трое ребят".
    – Headcrab
    Aug 19 '19 at 0:51
  • @Headcrab "Ребята" is a plural form as well.
    – VaNdal
    Aug 19 '19 at 8:10

Собирательные числительные (двое, трое и т. д.) могут использоваться только с существительными мужского рода, существительными, обозначающими детёнышей животных или имеющими только форму множественного числа:

двое мужчин, двое парней, двое котят, двое ножниц.

It is not "human animate plural" it "collective plural" ( means smth like "all together"). It can be used only with male gender, nouns for animal younglings or nouns wich has only plural form. "Дети" is exactly last one. It has single form "дитя", but it is cosidered somewhat obsolete and is not used much (only in some special cases, like "посмотри - он такое ещё дитя!" or (about wildman) "дитя природы")

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