I responded "Is the toilet here?" and was marked wrong. Don't they make the same sense?
Yes, but for some reason Americans don't use the word toilet for toilet.
I said is the bathroom here but it says it's wrong and must be "is there". How do you get that with no это in the original sentence?
As answered by mightypotatoe: Is the bathroom here? -> Туалет здесь?; as answered by duolingo itself: is there a bathroom here? -> Здесь есть туалет?
It's kind of odd but where I live people say half-bath or half bathroom for a bathroom with only a toilet and sink. We also refer to bathrooms as a bathroom, men's room, ladies' room, restroom, etc because toilet comes across as a little impolite or mildly crude. I really only hear children say toilet and that's still pretty rare.
TLDR: Americans are weird and think the word toilet is gross. (At least where I live.)
The English translation feels odd.
If I want to know if something or someplace is 'here', at the location I am - 'I ask : Is here a toilet' (more likely 'do you have a toilet here)
If I want to know if something is at a certain location I am not at the moment, I ask 'Is there a toilet?' or 'Do they have a toilet there'
I am not a native speaker - but the structure : Is there - here sounds pretty awkward. Am I right or do I miss something?