"This is a cafeteria."
It's also a little tricky because English uses the same word for different grammatical things, but it's not always obvious they're different.
If I point to something and say 'this' (これ), that's a pronoun referring to the object. If I hold up an apple and say 'this' apple (このりんご), apple is the noun and this identifies which apple I'm referring to. The first stands alone as the thing itself (これ), the second goes before a noun (この…)
So Japanese uses different words for those different functions - it's pretty easy once you recognise what's actually going on. And yeah, theres a こ<sub>,そ</sub>,あ~ pattern that sort of means here, there, over there that you'll see a lot with location-y words
My thought is that これ would me more appropriate for "this (building) is the cafeteria" vs ここ for "(located) here is the cafeteria".
If I were walking around a campus and pointing out buildings, I would say "this is x, that is y", (これ, それ, あれ) and only during the lunch break would I walk into the dining hall and say "and here is the cafeteria" (ここ).
I assume that "this is the cafeteria" is similar to picking up an apple and saying "this is an apple", except you can't pick up a building. Its different if the area was one large building, like a mall. You woudln't say "this (building) is the cafeteria." You would say "the cafeteria is here (within this portion of the building)" Which is when you'd use ここ instead of これ.
I used これ which came out correct, but the correct translation is given as ここ. So for clarification, both work but ここ is for location? I intuited the English sentence using "This" as describing an object, like "This is an orange." It seems like これ would work if you were outside the space, but ここ would be correct if you were inside the space. Can anyone clarify this for me?
If I'm reading the comments right, it used to only accept ここは, but now it allows これは as well.
Basically they're two subtly different ideas, but they mean pretty much the same thing. ここ is "this place", so "this place is a cafeteria". これ is "this thing", so "this thing is a cafeteria". But the thing is also, specifically, a place. So either works!
But the こ～ prefix means "close to me", そ～ means "close to you", あ～ means "over there (not close to either of us)". So あれ and それ are wrong because they're about "there" or "over there" instead of "here" (near the speaker)