"Is the café next to the restaurant?"
Translation:¿El café está al lado del restaurante?
I chose proximo and got it wrong. It suggested 'junto' or 'lado' which I agree are probably more clear/literal... but is proximo totally wrong? Is proximo only used in reference to non-tangible things like "next day" or "next in line"?
Al lado doesn't literally translate to "next to" it means "to the side", so you need to make your "el" in front of restaurant into a "del". That way you're saying "to the side of the restaurant" instead of "to the side the restaurant"
The gave the same answer an got it wrong, as well. This, even though it was the same as the sentence they showed as the correct answer.
I recall the sentence "El gato duerme cerca…" which was given as "The cat sleeps next to..." So why is "cerca" wrong in this sentence?
Durasplice, in a previous example, a speaker of Castilian Spanish for 70 years said they commonly use the verb first, & to report it as correct word order also.
However, Duo is teaching it with the subject first in questions, as if a person is asking if they heard you (or remember) correctly, like: "The cafe is next to the restaurant(, right)?" The voice inflection should go up at the end of an inquiry, but Duo speakers don't always do that correctly, making us only aware it is a question by the punctuation.
As for the use of cerca, "near" can mean "close" like, 1) snuggled up like a cat, 2) within reach, hearing, or feeling, like sitting close to a fireplace, or close to the radio, or close to the biscuits, so you make sure you get some! Or 3) across the street, like a place to park your car when shopping, or within walking distance, like the hotel is near the park. So, lado is more specific than cerca.
I believe del is used with cerca in Duo's examples because in English they translate as "within a certain unspecified distance OF, whereas al is being used with lado as being "next TO the subject. Ex: Ella está lado al hombre alto.
Native speakers or those more experienced than I am, feel free to correct me so I will learn, also, if I have made any wrong assumptions.
That said, I think your translation had a few other errors (but it is not visible to me on my phone app when I start my reply). I think you 1) forgot the accent on está, (so Duo sees your word esta, which is the feminine of "this,") 2) put an extra del or al in your sentence near the subject, and 3) used del when you needed to use al, and visa-versa.
Duo is trying to teach us these differences, that "near" is not as exact of a description as "next to/to the side of," so when you see lado, think "side." (I haven't tried to use "beside," which I think of when describing a store or building directly abutting, or "next door to," a place.)
Sorry this turned out to be so long; I know beginners will probably skip my answer, but I tried to address each mistake.
Durasplice, after my long answer, I see yours again and it looks as if you are simply trying to say, "Is the cafe to the side of the restaurant?" But there are some fine points, making yours say more like "Is the cafe- to the - the side of - of the restaurant?" I tried to parse it out in my longer answer, so I hope you will see this one first!.
I learn a little each day. I now know more than the 1st day I started. There are people on this program that are such linguist. I have an appreciation for their talent. Thanks for the information.