In English, "the summer' can be used alone or in a sentence. Example: "When are you coming to visit?" Answer: "The summer". Example in a sentence: "It always happens in the summer"
Duolingo has been doing this the whole way through. It constantly tests that we're aware of the difference between 'El' and 'Un.' Considering how much trouble some foreign students have with 'the' and 'a' in English, I'm glad that they do this.
Is el and la sort of like an and a for english? like an is before a vowel and a is before a consonent ? If so, then what does 'la' go in front of, and what does 'el' go in front of aaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!! or does el go in front of words with a consonant at the beginning while la goes in front of a word with a vowel at the beginning?
El and la are definite articles (like "the" in English). the difference is the gender of the noun. All nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine. "A" and "an" in English are indefinite articles, and the comparative in Spanish would be "un" and "una". But while indefinite articles in English are based on whether or not the following word begins with a vowel sound, indefinite articles in Spanish (as well as French, Italian, German, and many other languages) are again based on the gender of the noun. This can be tough for native English speakers, since English definite and indefinite articles, as well as adjectives, don't change form based on the gender of the noun. Aside from biological genders (male, female, etc.), we don't really use gendered nouns in English.