things that occur occassionally can still be wrong. I occassionally spell occassionally wrong, but it's still wrong.
The meaning is clear, especially for non English speakers so it's fair to allow it, as far as learning Swedish, not English, is the reason why we are here.
Just to provide some apparently needed context for discussion on this thread, and not to take either side of the debate, here are some pages where the usage is discussed and a few brief words summary of their content:
A number of upvoted answers on those state "a police" is incorrect. The smaller comments there mention "The Wire", just as cayvie has mentioned it on this thread, but those who have left comments also say such things as "It's hard to tell if this is dialect, slang or jargon, but I believe the show is generally considered to be realistic in its use of language" and (from a different poster) "I think that usage is a regionalism."
Which isn't to say those regions aren't widespread, see http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/09/a-police.html for a few examples of where it has been used - and they are widespread, although not numerous. Also notably they are often in a highly colloquial, vernacular, or slang style. Even though this blog post finds references for the usage, it concedes 'We doubt that “a police” will slip into common usage.'
There is a lot more debate about it easily found, for just one example: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/101751-A-Unique-Collective-and-Uncountable-Noun-Police
I suspect the reason this keeps coming up is because learners are writing "My mother is police" without any article, and Duolingo is (mis)correcting them to "My mother is a police" as the nearest alternative in its list of accepted sentences. If this happens to you, and "... is police" does occur in your regional variation, rather than leave a comment here, why not use the error reporting facilities to report that your sentence should have been accepted. :) That way the course team can put it into the list of accepted answers. :)
Late reply, but you also have to consider that there are also people who use the English courses that aren't native English speakers (including myself). I suspect that's why they're a little bit more forgiving when it comes to certain accepted answers. :)
Just wondering-- in situations like this, an "en" or "ett" is not needed for it to translate as "a... _" Are there any rules about this??
My mom is an officer is not an accepted translation? Policeman and officer can be synonymous in English.
As an English speaker I would only substitute officer for police officer in the context of talking about police related things. Without context it could mean something like an officer in the military.
Still they remain synonymous and very few people would assume it to be a military officer.
My mom is a police - sounds wrong for me... The Swedish version sound also a bit of. Or am I just missing the point here :)
The suggested English version is My mother is a police officer. There's a long discussion about 'a police' in English in this thread, but it's just an accepted answer, you don't have to use it. Unfortunately we can't control what is shown as 'another correct answer' so this may be shown to you depending on what you input.
Min mamma är polis is totally normal in Swedish, it's the most natural way of saying it.
Thanks for the clarification. :) I'm using Duolingo on Android and there it showed 0 comments to this exercise when I clicked on the comments. Now on the web I see the comments you are referring to. As for the Swedish version: thanks here too for clarification. Learned something new :)
I know comments don't show up properly on mobile platforms, I really hope Duo will fix this soon!
What about "my mom is an officer" as a gender neutral answer? I tried that as mibe but it suggested "my mom is a police" which we would not say in Kansas City...
Just "officer" is too general to be accepted here. Police officer is accepted though.
Its interesting seeing how different english speaking regions can vary so much in the way they form sentences. Like in this example I would have considered "My mother is a police." improper english or an incomplete sentence. (Ex. my mother is a police....woman? Officer?) But I suppose Duo has to accommodate for all possible english translations.
Let me guess, you're on a mobile device? there's a bug with these unfortunately.
We don't really control typo handling, but as far as I can see, you'd only get a typo for police woman, whereas police women would be failed for being plural instead of singular.
'My mother is a policeman.' love the alternative translation suggestion. :D
"polisen" can mean both, and you need to figure out from context. You can specify an individual with "polismannen" (possible for any gender but biased towards male) or "poliskvinnan" (female). (The word "poliskonstapel" can also be used but sounds oldfashion.) For the police force one can use "Poliskåren". Often you can tell since one usually begin with undetermined "en polis" for an individual, but the police as a whole is always determined ("polisen").
How we can call who is working in the police corp but is not officer, but a simple other administrative worker?
Probably by some other name entirely, which depends on the profession or tasks rather than on being in the police corps.
It's not ungrammatical per se, just unidiomatic to the point of being wrong. Unless you want to point out specifically that your mother is one police officer.
I put "My mother is a police" because I'm a rebel like that. It worked.
I'm sorry but the accepted answers are so wrong as to be comical! Either your mum is (non-PC, I know) a policewoman, OR "in the police." She is NOT "a policeman" or "the police" as was suggested to me, it might be word for word but it's lazy to suggest it as an alternative.