"How many elephants are there in the zoo?"
Translation:Có bao nhiêu con voi ở sở thú?
I'm having some trouble with this sentence and the placement of "bao nhiêu" and the use of "có". My understanding was the sentence structure was "Subject verb bao nhiêu noun". But obviously is difficult in this case. So does Có in the circumstance simply indicate that it is a question and thats why bao nhiêu goes at the front?
The sentence does basically follow the structure you said, just there isn't really any subject, because there's nothing actually doing any action, it's just describing a state. "có" can mean "have" or it can mean "there is/are", but either way it fills in the verb part of the sentence structure you described. In the sentence here, "in the zoo" is a prepositional phrase, not a subject, so it comes after everything else. I think (not a native speaker, I'm also a learner, so please correct me if I'm wrong) you could probably also say "sở thú có bao nhiêu con voi?" which has more of the meaning "how many elephants does the zoo have" rather than "how many elephants are there in the zoo".