isnt das neuter and eine feminine?
That is correct.
We use neuter singular das when we introduce something new to a conversation in German -- regardless of the gender of the thing or even how many of them there are:
- Das ist ein Hund. (masculine) "That is a dog."
- Das ist eine Katze. (feminine) "That is a cat."
- Das ist ein Pferd. (neuter) "That is a horse."
- Das sind Tiere. (plural) "Those are animals."
I notice your comment below where you say that die and der also can be used as the or that - would this only be when the thing referred to has already been introduced to a conversation?
That's when it's not a pronoun (instead of a noun) but rather a determiner (before a noun),e.g. Der Hund ist blau. "That dog is blue." or Die Orange ist lecker. "That orange is tasty."
Sentences often have multiple accepted alternatives (indeed, people often complain that there are too few alternatives accepted).
So there is nearly never a single "the" English translation.
It's always clearest to specify exactly which sentence you mean, rather than referring to something like "the English translation given by Duolingo" or "what Duolingo wrote".
In one of the exercises, a translation for "das ist ein Orange" is asked for. The translation given by Duolingo as the 'correct' answer is "this is a orange"; that translation is incorrect. I can't tell you which exercise this discussion relates to as I can see no way to identify it from this thread.
This sentence belongs to the Pearson course.
Many Pearson sentences are visible to the public (and not only to those who have paid to take the Pearson course); see, for example, https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24066422 .
And unfortunately, quite a number of them contain various errors, such as "This is a orange" in this case.
You can report "This is an orange" as "My sentence should be accepted", and/or "Correct solution is unnatural or has an error". I do not know whether or how quickly they act on reports, nor whether they read these sentence discussions, but I suspect that they do not read sentence discussions - posting here will not accomplish much.
So please do not post here any more about the error, though if you have questions about the grammar or vocabulary, you are welcome to post those.
The Pearson sentences are scheduled to be separated from the public course at some point and then this sentence should no longer be present. I don't know when this will be, however.
You can leave feedback about the Pearson course here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24052907
Would you explain the difference between "it" and "this/that".
"it" is a personal pronoun. It's used to refer back to something that you have talked about before.
"this" and "that" are demonstrative pronouns. They are used to talk about something that is new to the conversation.
"This is an Italian hat. It is very expensive."
The first sentence uses "this" because it introduces something new to the conversation: an Italian hat. In the second sentence, we use "it" to talk about "an Italian hat" which has been mentioned before.
Isn’t it more appropriate to say Apfelsine as opposed to Orange?
More appropriate? No. Both are used, mostly depending on where in Germany you're from.
It used to be the case that Apfelsine was northern, Orange southern, but Orange has spread widely into the north as well. Some even consider it the more "refined" word.
If I took a screenshot every time there was a mistake on your app, my photo file would be filled with them. There are so many errors in your site, I will not be renewing, it's so irritating. The pidgin English you use to translate and then correct me wrong in my own native language is driving me crazy. I am fluent in two other languages, and I have tested your app out with them too, same problem. I won't waste my time learning incorrect language translations
We do not lie
I rarely accuse people of lying because in almost all cases where people end up saying something that is not true, it is not deliberate.
I have seen myself, many times, how easy it is to overlook one's own mistakes. Sometimes I only catch them when I am making a screenshot for evidence, sometimes not even then.
Still, I have seen enough that I never blindly trust anything anyone says. They may not be deliberately lying but that doesn't always mean they're telling the truth.
you need to believe what " other learners" are saying.
In this case, you say that "That is an orange" was marked wrong.
I happen to be able to look "behind the scenes" and see what sentences are accepted, since I used to be a volunteer course contributor. As far as the backend tells me, "That is an orange" is an accepted translation.
So even if I believed you... how would that help anyone?
Also, another reasonable common situation is that people mix up listening exercises and translation exercises. For example, they get a translation exercise ("type what you hear"), they hear the voice speak in German, but instead of writing down what they heard (in German), they translate it into English -- and then complain that their English translation is not accepted.
Sometimes they even say that "the correction given is exactly what they wrote", apparently misinterpreting the correction which might be something like
Correct answer: Das ist eine Orange.
Meaning: That is an orange.
So even though it says that the correct answer is Das ist eine Orange, they fixate on the "That is an orange" which they wrote and think that that is the correct answer.
Unfortunately, there's no way to tell what kind of exercise (translation exercise, listening exercise, word bank, free text, multiple-choice, fill in the blank, ...) someone had when they come here.
And most people don't give any detail.
So... it's difficult to provide any help to learners to help them stop making whatever mistake it was.