Translation:My teacher was in Beijing last year.
Would this be considered a fault on Duo or is there another set of characters to denote went? Because for 'was in' we use 在, and have for a while. 在 is like a small swiss knife. It can be an adverb, preposition, or even a verb clause (which it is in this case, I think).
Yet 'went to' is a verb in past tense. So using the always correct google translator I get 去了 for 'went to'. Google spits out this thread's Chinese-English translation, but if you put 'went to' instead of 'was in' you get,"我的老师去年去了北京。" Not saying that it is right, but there is a difference.
I believe these are different. If you wanted to indicate a past completed action - the going - in a contrast, I think using the particle 了is correct:
However, the given text merely expresses a past /state of being/ -
and it's important to note that 去 there /is not/ the verb! I don't think you can use 了 with 在 though? (Unless you are dead... =) )
Of course I'm just learning, so please someone correct me if wrong!
Why only two word orders? Let's not insist only on the given words also.
Instead of last year "year gone by" or "past year" or "2019" or "an year before" "a year ago" etc etc.
Instead of "was, say "happened to be", "visited", "resided", "traveled to"... etc etc
Instead of my teacher "our teacher", "my tutor", "my school teacher", "my class teacher", "my maths teacher", "my English teacher"... etc etc
Then let's turn our attention to the famous and flexible word order you alluded to, and combine these into a few hundred thousand permutations.
"An year ago my tutor happened to be in Beijing"; " In Beijing visited our geography instructor in the year gone by";... ..... and so on and so on.
Duo should stop work in creating new Chinese content and spend more time in inventing complex ways of saying simpler things. "My teacher last year in Beijing was". "My teacher was last year in Beijing". "My teacher last year was in Beijing". "In Beijing was my teacher last year". "In Beijing last year was my teacher". "In Beijing last year my teacher was". "Last year in Beijing was my teacher". "Last year in Beijing my teacher was". "Last year my teacher was in Beijing". "My teacher in Beijing last year was". "Last year in Beijing was my teacher". "Three years before two years from now was in Beijing my teacher"........
And so should Duo devote the next three years to solve this important problem of how differently can seven Billion people say this sentence.