Translation:There is a yard.
は typically indicates either that we're talking about an already-known subject, or that we're calling attention to the subject. On the other hand, が is used to introduce something new, or simply as a neutral indicator of the subject.
Loosely speaking, saying にわは is like saying "the yard," where as にわが is like saying "a yard." Figuring out which one to use gets easier with practice.
は and が both indicate subject.
But for me, the best way to think about it is that if you use は the "important" or "new information" part of the phrase comes after the は.
And when you use が the "important" or "new information" comes before the が.
So for example, if someone asks "what is your name?", you'd say "わたしは[name]" as in "the name of mine is [name]", the new information being the name, as the others know you're talking about yourself
Meanwhile, if someone asks "who is called [name]", you'd say "わたしが[name]" as in "I am the one called [name]", the new information being me, as the others know you're talking about who's called that [name].
In this case, it uses が as in "that over there is a yard" instead of "the yard is over there".
here's an article that explains what I just said in case you need further reading.
が can also be used as a distinction vs は which can also be used as a contrast.
This article explains that:
I put "It is a yard" and it came up as wrong? The correction was "It's a yard".
Now, sometimes it kinda makes sense why you have to type the answer in a certain way but this one is beyond my understanding why does the apostrophe make a difference "it's" just a shorter way of saying "it is"
As Craig says, あります means "to exist", so nothing in this sentence actually explicitly indicates possession.
However, because the subject is specified by using が, the topic is left unspecified and thus can be implied. If you break down the sentence 「私の家は庭があります」 literally, you get "as for my house (=私の家は), a garden (=庭が) exists (=あります)". In normal English, you could say "My house has a garden". So, without a specified topic, you could translate 「庭があります」 as "It has a garden" (with "it" being the generic topic).
"It is a garden" is incorrect, so Duo gave you the closest suggestion it had on the list of accepted answers. Do you understand why it's incorrect, or would you like me to explain that too?
I think I get your point, but I'm not sure if It's correct. You sentence "It has a garden" is the result of deduction. To get to this result you had to remove context and I'm not sure if the translation remains the same without the context. So without the information "House" we have the info: "there exists a garden". Right?
Yes, you're kind of right. To get "It has a garden", I had to add context, because this exercise gives us an abstract sentence without any information about the situation it's said in or conversation up until this point (i.e. the context).
If we don't have that information, as you say, the most general translation is something along the lines of "there exists a garden" or "a garden exists".
But, the point I was trying to make is that "it has a garden/yard" is a possible correct answer (in the right circumstances), which is the closest to the incorrect answer "it is a garden/yard".
Just to be clear - this point has been mentioned a lot - that in at least British English (I have no idea about American English, but would be surprised if it was really different), the contraction "it's" can only be used as a contraction of "it has" where the verb to have is acting as a modal auxiliary.
Eg "It's been a long time" => "It has been a long time". The "have" is not the possessive verb, but "to have" used as an auxiliary.
In other words "It has" in the sense of "it possesses" cannot be contracted to "it's". "It's a yard" can only be a contract for "It is a yard". If someone said to me "it's a yard" I would never understand that in the possessive sense.
So, duolingo is simply wrong here.
I absolutely agree with you that, as a native (Australian) English speaker, I would never interpret "it's a yard" as a possessive. I've indicated as much in the many times I've had to mention this point (since some people seem to be incapable of reading through the comments before they post...) This definitely needs to be fixed by Duo.
However, the fundamental problem, and why pointing out this unnatural (/incorrect) grammatical structure is necessary, is that people may dismiss it as merely a bug and continue to think that "it is a yard" is the correct answer when it definitely is not correct. "It has a yard" may be an unintuitive interpretation of the Japanese sentence, but it is a correct one.
While I applaud your efforts at making connections like that to help you learn, あります just doesn't work that way.
The あ in あります comes about because that's how Japanese people pronounce 有ります, and the kanji 有 is associated with the meaning "to exist". It's completely unrelated to location or the あ in あれ.
"There is a yard" simply tells you that "a yard exists", somewhere, somehow; in other words, A is not nothing.
On the other hand, "It is a yard" tells you "hey, this thing called "it", yeah, this thing is what's know as "a yard""; in other words, A = B.
The grammar of the Japanese sentence matches with the first one, "a yard exists", にわ(="a yard")があります(="exists").
Because the Japanese sentence simply states that a/the yard exists, not where it is.
When you say "There is a yard", it's the same as saying "A yard exists". But when you say "The yard is there", it's the same as saying "The yard exists AND is located at that place". Not the same thing.
Wow, you're the only one who has noticed this, except for the dozen or so people who have commented on it before you. Please read the comments before posting next time.
"It's" can be a contraction of "it has". While no native English speakers would ever shorten it like this, "it has a yard" is a correct answer, as you said.