"This rice is spicy."
My mnemonic: カレー は からい です (karei ha karai desu) “Curry (with rice) is spicy.”
Thanks, Duolingo, for when I can't remember a word and you give me kanji that I can't read for reference.
I used が instead of は since the sentence concerns this specific rice. Why was it marked wrong?
It would be syntactically correct, but it would have a different meaning, because the emphasis would be in the subject. With が we'd say that "THIS rice (specifically) is spicy", whereas with は it's just saying the rice is spicy. Without more context, we wouldn't really be able to say which is the correct, though は is probably the most expected.
Also, が is often used with direct observations, as in, the sky is cloudy, my leg hurts, etc. I don't see why が would be wrong here.
I am also confused on why が was not accepted instead of は. A couple people have expressed confusion on this and someone attempted to explain as, が makes it specific to THIS rice, while は means more generally that the rice is spicy. However, the question says "this rice" and only accepts は so that seems to contradict that explanation. If anyone could explain further I'd appreciate it.