I think you're right. My problem is that my head is always full of movie and TV quotes, so if I've ever heard a given construction, however awkward, I like to test it to see whether Duo takes it. :-)
I'm glad, though, that Duo won't just mindlessly accept technically correct word-for-word translations.
Well, bizarrely, it does at times which can be a little unsettling but no where near as unsettling as the pedants that frequent these forums insisting that sentences such as "les cravates des hommes sont rouges" should allow literal translations such as "The ties of the men are red" which is, of course, ludicrous.
I have friends who are interpreters and others who are translators and both parties agree they would never "literally" transfigure any language. It is absurd but there appear to be more people here on Duo that are more interested in arguing the semantics of English (even though they are wrong) than in learning French ! C'est la vie !
I agree completely! My partner is a sign language interpreter. People often ask him to review videos of themselves interpreting lyrics or speeches. They are dismayed to learn that looking individual words up in the dictionary and making the corresponding signs is not a faithful translation of the concept.
You have so many helpful comments in these forums, and I've benefited from them greatly. Have a lingot!
For me understanding the literal word-for-word translation is a very important step in learning and comprehending a non-native language.
I really like it when duolingo accepts the word for word but lets me know the better, more correct translation. I realize this may not always be possible or even desirable but once I really understand the building blocks, the elegant, 'correct' translations become much more natural for me.
Apparently pedantic discussions may be tiresome at times but are an excellent opportunity for learning. I have learned much from others' questions, comments, and debates along these lines.