Translation:Luckily we did not have to do it again.
Have things changed so drastically that a typo i English costs a heart: I had:'fortunatley we didn't have to do it again" instead of 'fortunately 'and D. stated "You have a typo" very correcty but took a heart. A bit much no? Having read the above I must also mention that I have learned that "My mother likes to read books." until I have nightmares. Can't count how many times I've gotten to the last sentence just to get bumped. But a typo...??
What is the difference between "We do not have to do that again" and "we did not have to do that again"? I am having issues figuring out the difference between past and future tense.
Right now I can just wing it and do it the hard way, but I would much rather figure out what is actually going on.
Man, Sk8rMom, I totally understand your frustration. I do. Because things like this cause you to lose hearts, and often they cause you to fail an entire lesson, forcing you to do the whole damned thing over again. Sometimes several times. I used to bang my head against the wall, (when I wasn't pounding the desk and swearing) and, had I had any hair to begin with, I'm sure I would have pulled it all out.
For me, the last 1/3 of the lesson modules were particularly bad, because, when I did them, not many people had been through them yet and they were just brimming over with mistakes and omissions. I'd fail a lesson 4 or 5 times in a row sometimes, and occasionally I'd get so frustrated I'd just "test out" of the whole lesson module. At least back then, when you did encounter a mistake or an omission, you could click on the "still think you're right?" link to file a report and those reports went into a queue that was later read and processed by real, live Duolingo personnel. And when they agreed with you, they'd send you an e-mail letting you know the error or omission had been fixed in the database. At least that was somewhat comforting, because then you knew that other people weren't going to be suffering with as many problems as you did when they got to that material. And I went through that process literally hundreds of times (I still have the e-mails), but anymore it seems like all issues with the lessons are just shunted here to the forums for discussion. That's fine when it's a question about grammar or something, but, when it's a mistake in the lessons themselves, what good does that do?
Now, in your particular case, I could try to make the argument that in the original version, they use the word "es" and "es" most properly translates as "it". Because "it" still sounds fine in the English translation, it's probably better to use "it" instead of "that".
But, as I am sure you know, when translating in general, exact literal translations are usually horrible. We translate ideas and mood, not individual words. I think it is a good idea to stay as literal as possible (provided the result still reads naturally in English), but you often find yourself making much bigger changes than simply replacing "es" with "that". If this example had been a real-world translation sentence, and you'd written "Luckily, we did not have to do that again.", I would have said, "Well done, Sk8rMom nailed that one!" But in the lesson material, I would still argue that "it" is probably more "correct" in the sense that "it" (es) is the word that was used in the original AND "it" works just as well in the English as "that" does. In that situation, go with what was in the original.
Also, keep in mind that the lessons are database driven. They'll mark answers wrong even when they're right if there is no corresponding entry in the database (yet) that matches that answer. It's limiting, but it works reasonably well. Unfortunately, you just have to play the game.
I really DO appreciate this program. It's absolutely amazing, and it made me go back to relearning German, which was, at one point, my second language. I'm wondering at times if the fact that I learned it from the Transsylvanian Saxons as a child has something to do with some of the "mistakes" I make. (For instance, "kuerzlich" is "recently," but I used to think of it as "shortly.")
The adverbs section was, so far, the most frustrating for me. There were so many unnecessary "filler" words that sometimes had to be translated just so, and sometimes it was ok to leave them out. Another annoying thing is when I lose a heart for word order in the English translation. The sentence I remember writing "wrong" is "With this, is the group complete." Yeah, I get the fact that "With this, the group is complete" is correct, but the same message is conveyed in my sentence. Then, I have to step back from it all and remember that, as you said, the program is database-driven, and there is only a limited number of sentences and variations of them in the database.
I will keep on chugging. I have only a few days left of break, and then I will most likely have to set it aside until summer.