Word order does matter for establishing nuance. The fact that the box is mentioned first is an indication that it is the main focus. Someone may have been curious about the contents. Randy's " In the box is a pencil." is probably the closest interpretation of the example sentence.
If the focus was to disclose the location of a pencil that was being searched for, it would have been mentioned first with a topic particle. 연필은 상자 안에 있습니다.
And if it was just a simple statement about where to find a pencil, it would have also been mentioned first, but with a subject particle. 연필이 상자 안에 있습니다.
And yet, all three sentences can be translated with "A pencil is in the box."
Replace "is" with "exists," and you will see what I mean. There's no such nuanced difference as you described in English grammar, so your explanation flies out the window.
In fact, "There is a pencil in the box" is exactly the same semantically as "A pencil is in the box" because English requires the dummy subject "There" only to complete the grammar of the sentence. It has no additional meaning.
I put "The pencil is inside the box." The given translation is more passive in voice, but mine gives the same idea (a box with a pencil inside of it).
If you think about the statement Box inside pencil is ....there is no real way without more information to know whether the main point of this statement is what is inside the box or the location of the pencil.
If there was a question before it (as in some of the exercises) like "What is inside the box?" it would be easier to determine this. "Where is the pencil?" would clearly need something that asserts "The pencil is in the box."
Who knew that such a conversation could happen about a box and a pencil? LOL
(There is nothing about the translation that is passive. Passive in English uses the past participle form of the verb.)
There is nothing passive about any of this, and anyway there are no degrees of active and passive voice. A grammatical construction is either active or passive.
No, I believe it's marking the topic as "inside the box". ("As for what's in the box, there is a pencil.")
Does pencil have to be singular? Why isn't "there are pencils in the box" accepted?
"The pencil is inside 'of' the box" was not accepted. I believe it should be.
I was going to ask why "a pencil is inside the box" was not accepted, but I think I get it after looking at the comments. there is = 있습니다
I put *There is a pencil inside of the box" and it counted it as wrong, although my answer was correct.
That is incorrect English grammar, not to mention incredibly awkward. Don't get mad at the computer for an incorrect input.
Actually in many areas in the US, that is a completely valid construction for their dialect of English.
I will concede that it is a very small population of people (comparably) that consider it acceptable, but they exist. I think it's the New England areas, but I could be "misremembering".
I do not think "There is a pencil inside the box" should be accepted. This goes against the convention taught by previous DuoLingo lessons. The correct translation is: "There is a pencil that is inside the box."
I believe you are seeing the 는 as the modifier for pencil. Like you are translating 상자 안에는 연필 into "pencil that's inside the box". However, in this example the 는 is acting as the topic marker. So the sentence is actually "(Regarding the topic of what's inside the box), there is a pencil."
Does this clear it up?
I've seen your romanization comments on several posts now. I'm not sure why you keep doing this, as it's more counter-productive to learn through romanization than to learn through 한글.