"How many elephants are there in the zoo?"
Translation:Có bao nhiêu con voi ở sở thú?
The có here would seem to tlsubtly chabge the English meaning. How am i to differentiate between a the questions, "how many eleohants does the zoo have" vs "how many elephants are in the zoo?" In the forner the elephants belong in the zoo whereas in the latter perhaps they broke in for a party.
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 subject in this instance is "there" and it is implied exactly as it is in English when we say "There are elephants [there]". So, the structure is:
subject: [implied] = there
verb: "Có" = is/are
interrogative: bao nhiêu = how many
object: con voi = elephants
condition: ở sở thú = at the zoo
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".