We rarely use "the" in English unless we're specifying a specific one. If Duo would choose a rule and stick to it, that would be awesome, but it seems that they aren't. Because of this, I would try not to worry about it too much--just learn from other sources when the Spanish articles and English articles would usually be used and when they wouldn't.
I've been trying to figure out when I say "the winter", "the spring" and when I just say "winter" and "spring".
I started thinking about it when "The winter is a season" was the answer to a multiple choice question. That doesn' sound right to me. But the more I think about it the less I can figure out my own private rule for using "the", assuming I even have a rule.
Sure, you make a good point. And you get a lingot for that.
The rules I gave is one professional writers use, and not one I made up. They, of, course, once studied the rules just like beginners need also to do. So, it looks to me like that this "rule" is the aim, the way English should best be used.
English is such a mixture of other langues, German, Nordic, French, Spanish, and Greek, its rules can get really confusing, containing a lot of exceptions, which are in reality, contradictions – rules that go against the rules. The only way to become adept with English (or any language, really) is by becoming ultra-familiar with it. Then the rules no longer matter. One needs to learn to read well, and then read a lot. A great lot. The language then simply soaks into one's mind, and then one can write what sounds good in one's mind.
I'm assuming this can work with Spanish, too. At least, I sure hope so. I hate rules!
My guess is that English is much more difficult language to learn than Spanish is. Spanish language rules are fairly tight and logical and the exceptions are few and relatively easy to become familiar with. English, on the other hand, is a jungle and the only ones who can wade through the mish mash are English scholars and teachers. Fortunately for Duolingo English students, Duo does not focus on rules and grammer.
Here are the English rules for articles https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/540/01/ http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/artikel.htm http://www.ef.edu/english-resources/english-grammar/definite-article/ http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/grammar-when-not-to-use-the-definite-article/
Curious why anyone would down vote that? There are many differences in Latin American Spanish, just as there is between Spanish spoken in LA and Spain. Some word usages are not common to all places. Your observation may well be valid and if not, it would have been more beneficial just to say so.
When winter or summer or spring or fall begin the sentence, you don't need 'the' in English. As above I didn't say the winter or the summer. It seems if winter is the object of the sentence or somewhere else in the sentence, you need 'the' before it. I fly in the winter, the summer.
They just do. They're homonyms, words that have the same spelling and sound but different meanings, like zillions of English words http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_true_homonyms.
"Estación" is for both spring and winter (and summer and fall). From to this discussion, https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2287648, it sounds like "estación" is normally the word used for the four seasons, but erne84 says that "temporada" is used interchangeably with "estación" where he comes from (his profile says Mexico).
This site that discusses common problems for Spanish learners, http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/s210/PSANDQS.HTM#Season, says that "temporada" is only used for other types of seasons like sports or television.