Translation:He suddenly has an important meeting today, so he cannot come.
"He suddenly has an important meeting today" is incorrect. It should read "He suddenly had."
i agree, but i could see a very niche use of this:
1: "Why cant John come today?"
2: "oh, he suddenly has an important meeting, so he can't come"
Agreed. I would use the present tense "has" to subtly suggest skepticism, frustration, or showing contempt.
This literal translation is so unnatural, it is laughable. DL, you must remember that Chinese syntax is not English syntax. To prevent derision of the translator, the English sentence should be rephrased to read "He cannot come because he has been suddenly called to an important meeting." This captures the complete essence of the Chinese sentence and it is expressed in proper English.
Seriously, as I said in the other comment: this is a language course, not a novel writing competition. To learn a language it is necessary to comprehend how its grammatical structure works, so I actually think that it's best to stick as closely syntax-wise to the original as possible, unless it's an idiomatic phrase or way too unnatural to translate literally.
If you really want more natural-sounding English, you can put it in the past tense without compromising the syntax: "He suddenly had an important meeting today, so he couldn't come" (I just tried and was accepted today - 22/01/17). "He cannot come because he has been suddenly called to an important meeting" is a ridiculously far stretch and doesn't show your ability to grasp the construction of the sentence, besides its general meaning.
Also, Duolingo is a machine, not a human grader - do you really expect it to anticipate all these far-fletched paraphrases?
Is "He suddenly has an important meeting, so he cannot come today." Acceptable as well?
If you want to get really technical, this would not be acceptable. For instance, if the event that "he" was planning to attend takes place tomorrow morning, but this sudden meeting takes place halfway across the world tonight, then "he" might reasonably say that he cannot come tomorrow because of the sudden meeting today.
I realize that the above example is a bit of a stretch, but hopefully it helps. The placement of the time in the correct clause is important.
Both "He suddenly has an important meeting today, so he couldn't come." and "He suddenly had an important meeting today, so he cannot come." were rejected for me. Actually, I think this example is quite funny because of cultural differences. A meeting is usually arranged in advance so shouldn't be "sudden". Or at least that is the cultural conceit:. And if someone suddenly has another meeting to go to it implies that you are less important, which is the truth, of course, but a little taboo, so people usually talk around it: "He's been called away", or something like that.
I would like to just point out how much i appreciate this sentence. Using all the words in a lesson section together!
(i forgot to include "important").
Why is "he" needed in second part of sentence?
Maybe the true purpose of these courses is to teach the people who make these lessons english
If you don't like this "broken" course, you don't have to take it. There are tons of competitor apps out there that charge like $10 monthly.
The translator needs a qualified English tutor who is also well versed in Chinese.
Oh please. These people put in a crazy amount of time and effort to build this completely free course you can take totally free of charge, and you're complaining about just a little imperfect grammar?
And for God's sake - this is a language course, not a novel writing competition. To learn a language it is necessary to comprehend how its grammatical structure works, so I actually think that it's best to stick as closely syntax-wise to the original as possible, unless it's an idiomatic phrase or way too unnatural to translate literally.