Why is "You have food on a plate." incorrect here? Is it possible to tell from the written form whether -ב refers to "ba" or "be"?
Not by the written but since it is your plate it is a definite article, i think thats the right term. Your plate isnt just any plate its the plate in reference.
I made a report on this one, or one like it, and immediately after reporting realized I had a typo, so I'd like to apologize for that.
Having said that, would there be a reason why you couldn't reverse the order of the final two words?
If you mean יש לך בצלחת אוכל, so yeah, that's definitely something you could say
Something can't be IN a plate. That's not correct English. A plate is flat it is not a vessel.
Because it's not the point or emphasis of the sentence (that YOU have (something)), but rather that YOUR PLATE has (something).
The only way I could translate this is when I thought "there is to you food on the plate."
Would this rather translate in the same line as: - You have a bottle of water --> יש לך בקבוק של מים - You have a plate of food --> יש לך צלחת של אוכל ?
It seems to me that a correcter translation for this sentence would be what GoogleTranslate suggests: There is food on your plate -- יש אוכל על הצלחת שלך . Correct?
By the way, you can't use "correcter" it doesn't exist. The word is spelt "corrector," (however your sentence was not grammatically correct either). you can use: "More correct" (but I think it's kind of awkward). "More appropriate." "Better translation." (As far as the Hebrew goes, I would think that יש אוכל בצלחת שלך, might work as well (but as I'm learning too I'll have to ask a native!)
Ok, update (I'm in the app so I can't edit). I spoke to a native Israeli and Hebrew speaker she said that you can say the sentence either the way Google translate suggests or the way I did: יש אוכל בצלחת שלך. Both sentences work in Hebrew.
You have food on your plate - יש לך אוכל בצלחת
There is food on your plate - יש אוכל בצלחת שלך
In a typical situation both mean the same, but consider these two fancy scenarios:
The plate is yours but the food is not: someone stole your plate, put his food there and intends to eat it. Only the 2nd pair of sentences applies.
The food is for you but the plate is not yours: your family sits down to dinner around one huge plate, where each has their food in their own corner of the plate (such is the ancient custom in your tribe). Only the 1st pair applies.