I did, but Duo isn't 100% on German grammatical oddities. "this" in English is used for something really specific while "that" seems to be a more general term. German uses the same structure with diese and das.
If a German native comes this way maybe they can sort the question out for us.
I'm not German, but I have spoken/learned it for 4 years or so. I have to agree with you on this one, BadGuy. Dieses would definitely be "this" in this case, and "das" is just a more general, less-specified way of saying "That/the light". True, though, that "das" can be different things, but I suppose it's contextual or dependent on case or something. We have plenty of idiosyncrasies in English, too. :P Just what I've learned/read/heard, so don't quote me on this. :P
Can you say "Das Licht ist auf"? I just remember hearing my German teacher saying "Mach das Licht auf!" what is the differentiation between "an" and "auf"? (Or did I just mis-hear my teacher?)
I think "auf" is a different kind of on-ness. As has been mentioned, you would use "an" and "aus" for the operating states. I found this out when learning the words "aufmachen" and "zumachen" (Open and close), because they also have counterparts "anmachen" and "ausmachen" (Turn on and turn off).
There is no English grammar rule that bans prepositions at the end of sentences. The myth got started because Lindley Murray thought that it was more elegant not to do so and that therefore prepositions should be banned from appearing at the end of a sentence. But there are many, many cases where a sentence would become very inelegant, even clumsy, if you were to try to avoid this. In some cases other grammar rules may even rule out alternatives. In this case Lindley Murray was wrong.
As for German, sentences often appear to end in prepositions, but that's mostly because of three reasons:
1) It's actually a postposition.
2) It's an adverb.
3) It's part of a compound verb.
I don't know if it's strictly illegal to end a German sentence in a preposition, but I do know that German tends to keep its prepositions close to their preposition-objects and that the most common situations that necessitate ending an English sentence in a preposition are solved differently in German. I cannot think of a German sentence ending in a preposition off the top of my head.
English sentences are allowed to leave prepositions dangling (despite what some silly prescriptivists claim) and frequently do, but in German you can't. We say in English, "The book that I write in", but in German you cannot say "Das Buch, dem ich schreibe in". That is totally not right. Instead, you'd say "Das Buch, darin ich schreibe", i.e. "The book, therein I write" = "The book, in which I write".
Having said that, in both English and German you're certainly allowed to have adjectives or adverbial particles at the end of sentences, many of which are indentical in form to prepositions: The light is on / Das Licht ist an Turn the light on / Mach das Licht an etc. That's not a preposition at all. It's not saying anything about being "on" something. It's not saying "The light is on the book". It's saying "The light is on". "on" is effectively just an adjective here describing the light.
You seem to be saying "Google translate is wrong". Well, how is google translate wrong? Or have you equated "Google translate is sometimes inaccurate" with "Google translate is always inaccurate"?
More to the point: Present evidence and an explanation. Sorry for being a dick, but I'm not interested in your opinion on the service.
Light is a neutral pronoun. Thus, it will use 'Das' as the definite article instead of 'Die' or 'Der'. I think 'Dieses Licht ist an' would mean 'This light is on'.
Google translate just doesn't give a f--- about context, syntax or semantics. I'm just giving you some advice; I would only use it for words one by one, but for sentences it is just terrible.
David, I don't think you understand that we got the sentence "Das Licht ist an", and we translated it to english. I am sure that Wintermote, as well as myself, know the difference between 'Die', 'Der' and 'Das', and between a definite articles vs. an demonstrative pronouns... but it is kind of hard (impossible) to tell the difference between 'Das' (that) and 'Das' (the), without any context. If both translations: "The light" and "That light" are perfectly correct, then... I don't see why anyone would disagree that both should be accepted.
So the only misunderstanding is from your part assuming we translated from english to german, instead of the other way around. OR maybe you did, and just decided to focus on "dieses" would be used to say "this" and ignored how you would say 'that'.
Yes, I realized it's a new thread, so?
and FYI, I am not really learning much german right now. I am mostly reviewing things I learned years ago. whenever duolingo "quits me", it is because of typos or other silly/careless mistakes, like this one.
You do realize that duolingo isn't giving much context anyways, right? how would you say "that light is on"? Google Translate is not perfect by any means, but with short phrases it can still be pretty good. the real point is that Duolingo isn't perfect either and IFF the sentence is grammatically correct, it should be more flexible given the limited context it is giving us.
It is not giving much (as in 'enough') context?
"The light is on" is enough to know that one should use a definite article (das) for a neutral pronoun (Licht). And when you have to respond with "Das Licht ist an", you should be familiar with male, female and neutral pronouns, if not, write it in a notebook.
If something I have seen in this site is that when you can't complete a lesson because duolingo quits you is most probably because you aren't ready for the incoming lessons. And I'm not refering to then, when they had REAL problems on translations, as you can see in many threads, I'm refering to just misunderstandings like this one (If you have not noticed, it has just three days).
Good day, sir.