"Pimenta" usually means the condiment (chili pepper, most of the times). Black pepper is called "pimenta-do-reino" or "pimenta-preta". The bell pepper is called "pimentão".
So both "in" the salad and "on" the salad make sense, like legatrix said (although I think "on" the salad is a more common occurrence).
I also used "He likes pepper in his salad" and was marked wrong. It seems to me that this should be accepted.
I translated: He likes pepper in his salad, and this was not correct. I do not see why it is not correct.
But do we know whether they mean peppers (the fruit) or black pepper? If it's the latter, I'd say 'on'.
why is there "the" in the sentence? I wrote 'He likes pepper in salad' and it was wrong.
or, he likes pepper on his salad. "Would you like pepper on your salad, sir?" None of the translations given above are really idiomatic English
Why are there seemingly unnecessary articles in Portuguese? I'm guessing this is something lost in translation because I don't understand the purpose of using 'de', 'o', or 'a' in sentences like this. Why can't 'Ele gosta pimenta na salada' be used? Or 'A gato anda sobre minha saia' as opposed to 'A gato anda sobre [a] minha saia'?
I can't wrap my head around using these articles when they don't add the the meaning of the sentence (at least not in the English/Spanish translations). For example, it'd be odd to say, 'The cat walks over the my skirt'. Is it really necessary to do so in Portuguese? Thank you.
Yes, it's necessary, except the article before a possessive, those can usually be dropped.
In Chinese we say 我住在飯店 (I live at hotel) meaning "I am staying at the hotel". I bet they also think all these extra words are unnecessary, but that's how each language works.
And you don't say "a gato". Either "o gato" or "a gata". And "gostar" always needs the preposition "de".
This is idiosyncratic (idiomatic?) in other languages, you just have to get used to it. In English we say, "he shook my hand." In French, it's "Il m'a serré la main." [He shook me the hand.]
Is it wrong to assume they mean black pepper here (since pepper is singular), and that pimenta has a plural form to mean other types of peppers? For example, " Ele gosta de pimentas (das reinas?) na salada... Something like that. :)
why is "he likes pepper in/on HIS salad" wrong? I am not the first to ask this, but no moderators seem to want to respond.
I chose " he likes salad with peppers" and that seemed to be too much for the tool to take as well.
Did you ask, "Why can it be 'in the salad' and 'in salad'?" (1) See comments by melesana, PDDAT, mathyeti and ThanKwee above. (2) In English, "in/on the salad" refers to a specific salad. e.g. the one I am making right now. (3) in/on salad refers to salad in general. (4) the answer to your question might be that English has ways of expressing more specific ideas, at least in translating this sentence. (5) the bottom line is that there is more than one way of translating "Ele gosta de pimenta na salada.", but it seems that duolingo only allows for one correct answer.
I haven't been on duolingo in 5 years, since I left Brasil. LOL Mathyeti is on the money!