"There are seven chairs."
In the first sentence, we have to translate "there are seven chairs". There is really no direct translation, so the closest we can get is "いすが七つあります" (I'm not the best at Japanese, but I think it means~ "in relation to the chairs, there are seven"). Just saying 七ついすあります means closer to just "seven chairs", since there is no emphasis or subject indicated (without the "ga" particle). In the other sentence you referenced, I believe the translation was "There are three chairs in the room", but a more accurate translation is probably "in the room, three chairs are there". Since the subject of the sentence, the room (へや), is indicated by the directional/placement particle (に), there is no need for emphasis on the three chairs as they simply add on to に. Are there any other native/more familiar speakers that can confirm or deny this?
Hi Danica, your explanation of the first sentance made sense to me. The second sentance, there seems to be confusion over what is the subject. へやに seems to be a phrase that describes the chairs, so "chairs" would still be the subject and that is why が follows it. For the person who asked the question, the first sentance starts with いすが as the subject, but has no descriptive phrase in that sentance to precede it. I am used to seeing words with が, regularly at the beginning of the sentance. Japanese seems to have set rules for word order. So putting a phrase describing location in front of the subject, as in the 2nd sentance is governed by one of these rules, but I haven't studied the grammar for a very long time, so that's all I can suggest.
I know this comment is old, but a lot of people are going to get confused by reading this thread in the future so here are the correct ways to say this example
and for the other sentence that @whiteyhead mentioned he's missing a が there as
but can also be:
here is an article about structures for counting:
In that link, the pattern is Noun + Particle + Numeral + Counter OR Numeral + Counter + の + Noun
「『七つ椅子が』あります」doesn't have the の particle before the noun. Is that not necessary sometimes. I didn't see anything in the article about that (but might have missed something of course).
particles are often skipped in speech sometimes, and there is even a bigger tendency to do it with the ～つ counter for some reason. There are also more colloquial ways to count things so it gets really confusing after a while.
The first three sentences in my comment are the structures you will most likely find in duo.
the question is why would you want to mark the thing as a topic? In Japanese, the most simple structure is "doer/be-er" connected to the predicate by が. In this case, you are just stating「椅子が」"chairs"「七つあります」"seven exists" or "I have seven of them".
You can use は ofc, but since normally people would expect が because you are telling them new information, if you use は here, it makes a contrast with other things, which things? I don't know, it depends on context, for example: "There
is are 5 tables and 5 desks... as for chairs there are seven, there is not enough" there you need the は to make a contrast between the other things and the chairs.
は is used to set a topic, and a topic is something that the other person already knows, not new information, new information is usually marked with が... and when you mark things with は it means that you want to say something which is more important than just the identification of the topic. This is why some people follow this mental rule: when you use が the particle puts emphasis on the word that's marking as in 椅子が the emphasis would be in "chair", and when you use は the particle throws the focus to the rest of the sentence, "as for the chair" and the listener thinks "what about it?".