"Where is that car?"
Translation:Kde je ten automobil?
Learning how to use "to" and "ten" is so frustrating and confusing. Is there not an easy way to remember their usage? I'm having trouble knowing what words are masculine and neuter which makes it harder to know what's the correct usage of "to" and "ten". How can one determine if a word is masculine and neuter?
Regarding only the gender of words, it's best just to memorize it when you learn a new word. But you may find something useful in this earlier discussion: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27322667. You can also check gender (and learn a lot of other things) at a site like: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/auto#Declension_2. (Depending on your display, you may have to scroll up a bit for the gender reference for auto.)
I wrote "Kde je to automobil" and it was marked "wrong" because it should be "ten". I'm confused as to the difference and usage of ten, to, and ta. I gleaned that "to" should be for neuter, but "ten" seems to be used for both neuter (automobil) AND Masculine (ten strom). "Ta" I assume is for feminine direct objets.
Different words have different grammatical genders. That is a purely grammatical feature that often has nothing to do with the actual object the word describe.
The word osoba is feminine even if the person is male.
Televize is feminine and televizor masculine. Biograf is masculine but kino is neuter. There are countless such synonyms of different genders. And it works similar in many other languages.
The gender is a grammatical feature of that word not of the object the word describes.
If interested, you can check the declension table for demonstrative pronouns here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_declension#Demonstrative_pronouns.
I wrote kde je ta mašina, probably inconciously being influenced both by Russian, where машина means "car", and by this very exercise, in which mašina occurs with the meaning "machine". So, may I assume that Czech mašina, and unlike Italian macchina, is not used for cars? (In German, you can use "Maschine" with reference to an airplane but not to a car).
No, it is not used for cars at all. Sometimes colloquially for motorbikes, but I would not go as far as to say it actually means "a motorbike". German certainly had effects on Czech here, with words like strojní puška from Maschinengewehr (and colloq. mašinkvér), later switched to kulomet (from пулемёт).