"There are guests in the palace."
Translation:Во дворце гости.
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Во is used instead of в before certain consonant clusters. The same pairs exist for к/ко, с/со.
«Во» (also «со», «ко») is required before some words (во всём 'in all, in everything', во мне 'in me', со мной 'with me', во сне 'in [a] dream'); before others it's optional.
Historically, «о» appeared if the next syllable had a vowel that got deleted (for example, «со мной» originally had a short vowel between м and н), but in modern Russian in is used even when the consonant cluster never had a vowel.
A read of the history of the language, here might enlighten things a bit. Short version. There used to be other letters in the russian alphabet. Look at 'Church Slvonic' to see an earlier version of the language. Letters got dropped throught history. But one letter in particular represented the cross over the world. After 1917 the soviets were trying to wipe religion out of society, so they removed that letter from the alphabet.
This is where the missing letters happen. The soviets may have a different slant to it, but that's what basically happened. (For transparency I'll add, I'm an English speaking Russian Orthodox Monk tired of only being able to read and chant the church slavonic. So im learning modern Russian.)
There's no real rule. Actually, there's quite some variation, and «в дворце́» should also be acceptable.
Please do not mislead learners with incorrect information. It may sound awful to your ears, but it's not true that "nobody" says «в дворце́». A quick Google search showed many many web sites where the phrase occurs, some of which look quite "respectable," i.e. where you would expect a decent level of Russian. https://spb.kassir.ru/teatry/dvorets-beloselskih-belozerskih
Common Russian word order with sentences describing the location of something is usually structured as [Preposition] (the) [Place], there is (a) [Noun]. An example is in the sentence, На столе мяч. (Literally: "On (the) table (a) ball". "Есть" (there is) is usually left out unless it's absolutely necessary to describe that the object exists.
When you say Госты во дворце, it may sound unnatural to a Russian speaker unless you are asking if the guests are in the palace. I'm not sure, but I believe it is also to emphasize the fact that the guests are in the palace (and not somewhere else).
«Е» in «дворец» is a fill vowel. It disappears once an ending is added.
Of course, it would be simpler if we could just add an ending. But language doesn't work like this. It's related to the language history.
Fill vowels appeared when extra-short vowels Ь and Ъ disappeared. (Modern Russian uses Ь and Ъ for different purposes now, but in the past they used to signify extra-short e and o.) They disappeared everywhere, except one case: when they were followed by another extra-short vowel.
So, дворьць became дворец because the last Ь disappeared, and this forced the previous Ь to remain. But in «дворьцѣ», on the other hand, because it wasn't followed by a disappeared vowels.
I believe it shouldn't: «Гости во дворце» corresponds to "The guests are in the palace" (unless you emphasise гости with intonation, and create a sentence with emphatic inverted word order; but Duolingo doesn't accept inverted word order).
«На дворце» would mean 'on the palace'. This could only work if the guests are on the palace's roof.
Hi! Again I suggest you to insert new info in the TIPS, so we know what's coming up in the lesson. Until now it has always been "в", suddenly a sentence with "во"...do you really think it's pedagogical? Thanks! All the best! :)