"There are four tables."
Another FYI (as usual). If you think your answer looks correct but it was marked wrong, please make sure you didn't accidentally use the kanji for "1" instead of the katakana long dash in "table." It's a common mistake. ;)
katakana long dash→ ー一 ←kanji for "1"
Be careful. は is the topic or "as for" marker. が is the subject marker. Please don't confuse people by mixing them. You can also think of them as given (が) / new (は) markers. In this case tables are acting as a given that's the question under discussion; we're just giving the count of them.
Chinese uses the same system. It was taught to me like this: in English, you would not ask for "3 milk" or "4 toast", you need to add a 'measure word' of "cups" or "pieces" for it to make sense. Japanese (and Chinese, and other languages) have that requirement for all nouns.
I feel so stupid, but I just figured out after months on this app that I can switch keyboards and use the keyboard option instead of the wordbank. I felt like I was just learning it enough for my memory to be triggered when I saw certain characters together. Without the word banks it is much more challenging but I definitely feel like it is helping me learn a little more. Game changer.
Rule of thumb:
When a count follows,
(or other appropriate particle) is used instead of は.
In the sentences for this lesson, that (appropriate) particle will always be が.
If you put the count BEFORE the noun, the particle following the counter (before the min) will ALWAYS be の, which takes away any guys work.
Also, in that case, you may be able to use the は particle AFTER the noun, if you like (and it make sense to do so).
...And I thought English was a difficult language!
So I put 四つのテーブルがあります and it counted it wrong when I used the exact same format for a different question that had the exact same layout like "There are six chairs". Can anyone explain to me why this wants "テーブルが四つあります" instead of what I have posted at the beginning of my post?
it's not wrong, it just less common. There is also a tendency to skip the の particle with that structure in relation to the ～つ counter.
「NのC」it's often used for delimitation porpuses, like in the movie「七人の侍」"seven samurai" this express that the movie title is about these seven samurai and no others, it's a delimitation of a group. When you use the other structure「～がN・C～V」you are basically extending the verb, saying something like "exist to the extent of number"
They both could be correct in context. With は, you're introducing the topic: "As for tables, there are 4 of them". With が, it's the subject: "There are four tables / Four tables exist (in the context under discussion)". It's about given vs new information. In some sentence frames that really matters and only は or が can be correct, but in this case I think both could be fine. Native / very fluent speakers feel free to correct me.