"The hospital is south of the convenience store."
私も Is it actually incorrect to use が here? I've seen this a few times, where sometimes both は and が are accepted, but other times it's just one or the other. I can't tell whether this is just an oversight or whether there is some nuance here requiring it to be は and not が. I wish there would be some explanation telling me why my answer is wrong.
they have different meanings
the one with は is a statement, as if you were saying "as for the hospital, it is south of the store", the one with が is using が where you are expecting は so that makes it pop up as if you were trying to make an emphasis on it on purpose.
Let's see 2 examples of why for が
You are talking with a friend and he says "you know they opened a park south of the store?" and you say, "I heard... but I think is near the park" 「病院がコンビニの南にあります」"the hospital is the one that is south of the store"
You wanna convey something new between a mental list of things you are mentioning, no idea why would you do that in this scenario but imagine someone listing the direction of different places... "The park is north of the store", "the school is east of the store" and 「病院がコンビニの南にあります」"the hospital is the one that is south of the store"
I think the description of が from Tae Kim guide does a really good job at explaining this difference, I quote "が identifies an unknown (usually among many other candidates)". He likes to call it the identifier particle.
Here is his video about this if you wanna see more examples.
Thanks! I've read Tae Kim's description before. I think I understand the difference. But given that there is no other context, it seems like Duolingo should accept both for this sentence.
Said another way, I don't think I've seen this course using cleft sentences ("it is the ... that, ..."), but it still accepts が. During this same lesson, I think I encountered another very similar sentence where the Duolingo solution used が. If I see such a thing again I'll try to remember to come back here and post the example.
I guess so, but I think the sentence without any context is definitely an statement, so not allowing both makes people ask why and that way they can get more knowledge about the use of the particles. It might be more inconvenient sure, but I'm one of those that believe in learning by making mistakes.