Translation:What do they eat at noon?
Exactly the meaning is the same - hence why ''What are they eating for lunch?'' should be accepted.
That is not correct. If the question asks about a past event, it would have been
他们中午吃 了 什么？
The question can alternatively be asking about a past habit in certain context. In that case we translate it to
What were they eating for lunch?
(Edit 2018.02.25) "What did they eat for lunch?" is acceptable when the question is about a past action only but not about its consequences.
So you're saying that it is actually mandatory after all to use 了 for all past actions in Chinese? Or just past questions?
I was a bit hasty writing that. Often when we ask " What did they eat for lunch?" it is because something had happened (e.g. someone got food poisoning) or we suspect that they didn't eat or they didn't eat well. All these cases where we have concern about the consequence(s) of the action, we would use 了 to indicate a change of state - say, the eating action was done resulting in someone got poisoned.
Certainly that's not always the case. If someone asks this during a conversation about a past event and expects only a description of the action without concern on the consequences of the action, it is also applicable. You are right I had implied that 了 was mandatory, but that's not what I wanted to do. Thanks and I corrected the comment above by adding a footnote.
That's indeed also correct for asking about the habit (though he may want to mean 吃了什么). I would rather believe that translation is not accepted for now because Duolingo do not have a fine-grained control on answer checking for gradual learning.
It's not specified that the meal is lunch. Lunch would be 午饭, and while that would be an understandable translation, it's not the literal one.
"They noon eat what" is also a literal translation. There's a reason literal translations are not always desirable. Do Chinese speakers actually say this Chinese sentence, and if they do what do they mean?
I would not say either is common enough that we should ditch the other one. Not sure why people are so serious about this (just because the alternative translation was not accepted?). I can say it is not unnatural to say this Chinese sentence unless the listener wants to pick nits.
I think everyone who is going to learn Chinese should know this statement below:
凌晨:3:00--6:00 早晨:6:00---8:00 上午:8:00--11:00 中午:11:00--13:00 下午:13:00--17:00 傍晚:17:00--19:00 晚上:19:00--23:00 深夜:23:00--3:00
You should know that when the word "noon" is actually indicates the word "afternoon" and so it should mean 中午 in Chinese and not 下午 which that is the time when we eat lunch (午餐)
Personally, I think the word BRUNCH will be more accurate than the word LUNCH at the time 中午.
That works too but instead of "did" it will be "do" since the sentenfe didn't indicate a completed action.
i agree completely, it is just present participle rather than present tense. i got this wrong too.
When the sun is highest in the sky, what it is that those others consume for nourishment?
There is no character there for nourishment and translations must be 100% literal d-;
中午吃 is lunch... DL is using a literal translation instead of the real meaning behind it. "What do they eat for lunch?" needs to be accepted!
That's not really a good translation. Personally, if someone where to say that to me, it would be understood that we're talking about lunch. Literal translations are usually not very correct.
I put "what did they eat at noon" rather than "what do they eat at noon" How do I distinguish the tense in Chinese?
We don't use tense in Chinese. The time of reference is derived from the context.
So if the context is not clear yet between the speakers, we add more information in the sentence. You would be saying something like What did they eat at noon at such time ?, What do they eat at noon today ?
Is there a reason why "What are they eating at midday" shouldn't be accepted?
"What do they eat for lunch" would be something what a human being could say
Another example where the app digresses from teaching Chinese and distracts everyone with rigid and wrong English usage. Need to fix it!