Translation:The chair is next to the table.
Just a guess, but I think it has to do with the particle は marking いす as the main topic of the sentence. The の marker links the table and the space beside it, and the directional に then places our topic into that space. Since the verb should (I think) also relate back to the topic, we start with いす. Again, just a guess here, but that's how my brain struggled through processing this.
Skimming first for the subject and verb sounds like a great idea, actually! So far I've just been bumbling along word by word and backing up to revise in my head whenever another particle throws new information at me. But I love the idea of finding the basic gist of the sentence, first, and then fitting everything else in around it. I'll have to give that a try. Thank you for sharing! :D
No, it means that the tables have (because that particle describes possession) the "characteristic" of being next to... next to what? The subjet of the sentence and that is the chair. Why, then, not start with the table? Because the subject is the chair. So "the chair is next to the tables". Hope it helps!
why is となりused here? literally the question before this one, someone explained that よこ was needed because となりwas to be used for things that were similar, よこ was more appropriate for these items.
for clarification the previous sentence was "テーブルのよこにいすがあります" (there is a chair next to the table).
Interested to know if I'm missing something or if this is one of those times where Duolingo confuses things up (and me haha)
Duo hasn't really messed anything up, both of those sentences are correct depending on, you guessed it, the context. First let's talk about a couple words.
隣 (となり) means that two objects of the same category are next to each other, with nothing of the same category in between them. A chair and a table could be considered the same category considering they are both furniture.
Now 横 (よこ) can be concerning different categories of items, but there's also another factor coming to play here. If you put a bookshelf in one corner of a room and a potted plant on another corner, then put chairs in between them, the bookshelf and plant are still next to each other, even though there are a bunch of chairs in between them. This something else 横 is used for, when they might be slightly farther and with more things in between them.
So because of this, the first sentence that you listed (the one that this comments section is about) would mean that there are no other furniture items between the chair and the table, while with the second sentence, there could be plenty of tables and chairs between the chair and table that we mentioned, but even with all of those extra things, the mentioned table and chair are still 横.
Not really. ます also translates to "is" just like です, but the difference is that ます describes what action is being carried out by the subject. What is the action in this sentence? Existing. The chair in this sentence is existing. You can tell that it is because of the あり right before the ます. あります (for inanimate objects) and います (for animate objects) "mean to exist". To understand why we use あります here, let's break the sentence down.
椅子は (いす) shows that the chair is the subject in this sentence. テブルの隣 (となり) brings the side of the table into the sentence. に describes the side of the table and says that that's where the subject is, the subject being the chair. The thing is the sentence isn't yet complete. It feels right, we know that the subject is the chair and that it has something to do with the side of the table, but we can't be sure that it's actually there. We can't be sure that the chair is exiting in that spot. That's where あります comes in. It brings the sentence altogether and says that the chair is existing at the side of the table. (We wouldn't use います because that's for animate objects and the chair is not alive)
Now for です we wouldn't use it because です is for describing the subject. Like if we say パンは甘いです。That would mean that we are describing the bread and saying that it is sweet. Or if we say 魚は好きです。We would be saying that we like fish. (The word for "like" is an adjective instead of a verb in Japanese). And with that knowledge, I hope you understand why we use あります instead of です in this sentence.
In most cases it does, but not always. In this case, I think that は kinda emphasizes that the chair is the one next to the table (by making it the topic of the sentence), and not something else. For negative and interrogative sentences with います/あります, は is usually used as well