"There is a ball in the box."
Translation:В коробке мяч.
I also thought this would be OK "Eсть мяч в коробке", emphasizing that the ball does exist in there... Basically just elimate the whole "There is a" from the English, it feels like something is missing... :)
Even stranger, the sentence "Здесь есть театр?" is provided to say "Is there a theater here?", which seems to imply есть meaning "exists" or "there is", so why not in the sentence about the ball? Or, maybe like many "у меня" constructions, becuase we aren't talking about whether a ball exists or not, but simply the fact that it is in the box? :( Confusing. :(
Eсть мяч в коробке sounds like a beginning of a fairy tale. In a more down-to-earth style, when there is no need to make a showy start of a longer narrative, we do not use «есть» at the beginning of such sentence. If you state WHAT is found at a given place, the place would be the first block in your sentence. If you need to say where the object is, the object starts the sentence.
- В коробке мяч roughly corresponds to "There is a ball in the box" (unless there is only one ball; in this course we assume that in random sentences "typical" objects are plenty)
- Мяч (лежит / находится) в коробке roughly translates to "The ball is in (inside) a box" or "The ball is in (inside) the box"