"Moscow is in Russia."
Translation:Москва находится в России.
The cases and the word order are wrong.
Russian nouns have different case forms which are used in different context. The first form, which is listed in the dictionaries, is the Nominative case form. It's used for the grammatical subject of the sentence:
- Москва́ больша́я. 'Moscow is big.'
- Росси́я больша́я. 'Russia is big.'
In English, we usually put the subject in the beginning of the sentence. In Russian, the position of the words is determined differently (more on this later), and the subject is marked by using the Nominative case form of the word.
Here, your subject is 'Moscow' (the structure of this sentence is roughly the same as in English, and the English sentence puts Moscow in the beginning so we know it's the subject), so you need to use «Москва́».
Another case is Accusative. It's used for direct objects:
- Я люблю́ Москву́. 'I like Moscow.'
- Я люблю́ Росси́ю. 'I like Russia.'
In English, the direct object is marked by placing it after the verb. In Russian, it's marked by using the Accusative case form.
You've used Москву́, which is an accusative case form. You don't really need Accusative case in this sentence. Sometimes the preposition «в» can be followed by Accusative, and then it means the direction, 'into' (в Москву́ 'into Moscow', в Росси́ю 'into Russia'). Since Moscow is not moving into Russia, it's already there (although most of the Russia is moving into Moscow... but I digress), we don't need accusative case here.
What we need is a Prepositional case. When the preposition «в» is used with the Prepositional case, it means Location, 'in':
- в Москве́ 'in Moscow',
- в Росси́и 'in Russia'.
This is the case we need. I hope it's clear now why we need 'Москва́' and 'в Росси́и', and not what you've used.
Well, you may know that Russian doesn't use the verb 'to be' in the present tense, so 'Москва́' and 'в Росси́и' are all you need to build a sentence. But you need the correct word order.
Now, on the word order. Russian usually puts the new information to the end of the sentence. What the speaker already knows is in the beginning of the sentence, and the words that make your point are in the ens. So, if you use «Москва́ в Росси́и», you're saying something new about Moscow, and it is the fact that Moscow is in Russia. Which is the meaning of the English sentence.
However, if you say «В Росси́и Москва», then this sentence tells us about something that's in 'Russia', namely the fact that Moscow is there. It wouldn't generally correspond to 'Moscow is in Russia' in English, it would correspond to 'What's in Russia is Moscow'. While this might be useful sentence in some contexts, it's not used often.
Sorry my explanation turned out too long, please tell if you have questions!
"Sorry my explanation turned out too long"
Oh do NOT apologize! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain in detail! I'm clearly very new and struggling with the cases (I'm sure I'm not the only one).
I'm going to have to read over what you wrote probably several times - not because it's not clear but because you've packed in an amazing amount of information (the explanations of why things were wrong and what they would mean if used were especially helpful). And you've done so in a way that makes the cases start to make a little more sense to me.
You've been extraordinarily helpful! Thank you!!