Technically, because Duo is using the feminine form année you have to use cette. The larger question is why année instead of an? Well, for demonstrative adjectives (this/that/etc) you would normally use the masculine an, EXCEPT for this year which must be cette année
BTW, on the audio exercise: cet and cette are pronounced exactly the same: /sɛt/. You know that is has to be cette for the same reason: année is feminine.
See Lawless explanation about masculine/feminine time words: http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/an-annee-jour-journee-matin-matinee-soir-soiree.htm
I think the question was why "cette" could only be translated to "this" and not "that."
"This year" and not "that year"
The answer for that is in the same link, In summary:
cette année == this year
cet an == that year
Except demonstrative adjectives, which are used with division words:
cet an - cet an que j'ai vécu en France
that year - that year that I lived in France
(But when talking about the current *year, say cette année - this year.)
That's what I put. This is getting ridiculous. jbromao is right, it's turned into a guessing game.
Yes, but to me this is a good thing. It means a lot of new material is being presented. I know of I stick with it and i don't get discouraged, soon it will be easy.
Actually, I'm on the last levels of this unit on the passé composé. A few days ago these sentences totally baffled me. Now, after much repetition, they are truly easy. I now understand the verb agreements, which a short time ago seemed impossible.
I'm very happy with the progress I'm making, and I hope you'll be doing well also. The naturalistic teaching approach does mean there will be periods of confusion, but persistence will pay off!
It is avoir, I have not....That's all. When the course progresses to past tenses, a quick dip into French.about.com/passé composé (which ties to past imperfect) will give you a quick and simple lesson and access to other tenses,- and a brilliant conjugator that will also work back to the verb (if you did not recognise vécu, for instance).
New tenses are a bit of a leap, so they require some work. But once you have 'got it', things get simpler. The link above should really help. I am a fellow learner, I hope this info has helped.
I thought it would be "Je n'étais pas vu cette année"... If this sentence is correct, is there a difference in the pronunciation of this sentence and the one suggested above?
I am confused by the use of composé passé here- wouldn't the imperfect better suit the meaning?
I cannot figure out why " I did not see you that year" is marked wrong by Duo.
I can see there is a subtle difference to the given answer , but isn't the meaning the same?
If someone could explain this to me I would be very grateful :]