"This is a small tomato."
Translation:To jest mały pomidor.
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No and yes.
Yes, because it accidentally makes some sense due to many meanings of 'to': You see three items: a tomato, an apple, a banana. You are asked "Which one is the small one?" - "To pomidor jest mały" means something like "It's the tomato that is the small one".
But for the meaning intender here, no, that's wrong.
Ummm... The question was to pick the translation for "A little cat is drinking milk." I picked "Mały kot pije mleko" and was just told it was wrong and that the correct answer is "this is a small tomato" (which wasn't even an offered choice!) Duo, you've got a bug!!! :P
Yes, "to" is a neuter form of "this" if "this" is a determiner, like in "this tomato".
But here, "this" is the dummy subject pronoun, it means the same as "it" ("It is a small tomato"). And that dummy subject pronoun is always translated to "to", no matter the gender of the noun that follows later.
"pomidor" is a masculine noun, like the 99% of nouns ending with a consonant. The grammatical gender is mostly based on the ending, although it doesn't defy logic, so e.g. "tata" (dad) is a masculine noun even though usually -a ending is used for feminine nouns.
"This" here isn't a determiner (as in "this tomato"), it's a dummy subject pronoun. You could make it "It is a small tomato" and it would mean exactly the same. This dummy pronoun is always translated as "to" (and its other cases).
If the sentence was built differently, let's say "This tomato is small", then it would indeed be "Ten pomidor". "Ten pomidor jest mały".
Firstly, both "pająk" and "pomidor" are masculine nouns, which is true for 99,9% nouns that end with a consonant in their basic form. Which means that they are "duży pająk" or "mały pomidor".
The confusion is in the fact that the word "to" is very versatile. You've encountered at least three different meanings so far:
"to" as something like "is/are": "Pająk to zwierzę" = "A spider is an animal". It's not exactly a verb, but it serves a similar function.
"to" as a neuter determiner meaning "this": "to dziecko" (this child), "to śniadanie" (this breakfast), "to mleko" (this milk), "to jajko" (this egg).
"to" as the dummy subject pronoun. The dummy subject pronoun can easily translate to all of those: "this/that/it/these/those" and sometimes "they". So "To jest [noun]" can mean "[This/That/It] is a [noun]". The first word is always "To", regardless of the noun's grammatical gender or number. And in fact the verb "jest" (or plural "są") can usually be omitted, especially in short sentences like this one.
So if you have "This is a small tomato", that's a different thing than "this small potato". "this small tomato" uses "this" as a determiner and it needs to match the grammatical gender. "This is a small tomato" has "this" as a dummy pronoun and it means the same as "It is a small tomato". The only option is "to".
Moreover, it can omit the verb "jest", so we end up with "To mały pomidor", which I have to agree is confusing. "To" here can only mean "This/That/It is" though, because it doesn't match the gender of "pomidor".
Sometimes there will be ambiguity. The word "jajko" is neuter, and "To jajko" can mean both "This egg" and "This is an egg". The context should make it clear though, and if it's a sentence ending with a dot in Polish, then we should expect that it's a real sentence in English ("To jajko." = "This is an egg.")