"There is a chair next to the table."
The translation here is, strictly speaking, not extremely accurate. ~のよこに precisely is "on one side of ~", some space between the 2 objects is possible. ~のとなり would rather be "immediately next to ~". So while both Spain and Portugal are フランスのよこにあります，only Spain is フランスのとなりにあります.
Your other sentence has the word ひとつ. It tells how many chairs are there which would otherwise be unknown if the word is not included.
thats what brought me here to this thread/ I'm still new to learning japanese and I'm going there with less than 6 months of learning it and some wani kani, but I am so lost with the last few lessons purely because there's never a learning section followed by questions. I hate guess work and learning from incorrect answers!
No problem. I am open to discussion. I see your point about the emphasis but it is also true that a chair cannot mean more than one. My comment only discussed (2nd paragraph) about the effect of including ひとつ but I did not judge the sentence right or wrong. I think it is a fair comment.
My comment was, actually, less about your post (which was helpful, to be sure) and more about the nature of the sample sentence. I should have been clearer in that regard.
With Japanese's esoteric and context-reliant nature, I was concerned that the original poster and other people with similar questions might be inclined to think that this representative of the way that normal people talk (i.e., dropping pronouns and singular/plural distinctions). For this reason, I think that the default translation would better reflect the nuance if it were 'one' rather than 'a'. There is a reason, after all, that in English we do have these two different words connoting the same principal meaning.
A useful tip is that the main focus of the sentence will be at the start in Japanese, most of the time. The wording of "There is a chair next to the table" means the table is actually what is being focused on the most. If the sentence was "The chair is next to a table," it would focus on "いす" instead.
となり is used for things that are similar in nature, while よこ does not have this restriction and is generally used for relevant description of dissimilar things.
となり Two (people/houses/tables/chairs, etc.) that are directly next to each other.
To help you remember, one of Japan's largest cities, Yokohama, derives its name from 横[よこ] (next to) and 浜[はま] (seashore;beach). As a city is not a shore よこ is used.
Another example is お隣さん[おとなりさん], which is used to reference one's neighbor. As the two residences are next to each other となり is used.
There is a bit more to it and the other minor nuances can be gleaned by visiting relevant pages after searching for 'difference between tonari and yoko'.
It is like an adverb to the verb.
You can consider understanding like this:
(You actually can't tell it's just one chair or more chairs; you only know a chair or some chairs are there)
Chairs exist by one unit.
(You know there is "one" instance of chairs existing.)
Of course the above is not good English; it is for comprehension only.
You're missing the English counter, namely 'a', meaning 'one'.
As Japanese nouns do not indicate singular or plural without context, reading this sentence without the counter 一つ could lead one to assume that there are 'chairs' next to the table, as that might be what is normally expected.
The thing I struggle with is thinking... Okay how would the sentence start, with Table or Chair? ''The chair is next to the table'' or ''The table next to it is a chair'' The latter doesn't make a lot of sense that's why I go wrong here often. Especially with this one where ''一つ'' is also involved for some reason.
If you phrase it that way ('The chair is next to the table'), it does make more sense for 'chair' to come first: 「いすがテーブルのよこです。」
In the relevant sentence ('There is a chair next to the table.'), however, we are describing what is next to the table. This makes the clause 'next to the table' the focus of the sentence (grammatical agent) , which normally comes first.
「いすが一つテーブルのよこにあります。」would be addressing where a chair might be, rather than what is next to the table.
Think of these two different constructions as answers to two distinctly different questions: 'What's next to the table?' and 'Where can I find a chair?'.
Are you fluent in Japanese or Japanese yourself, or neither, may I ask?
my english-wired brain is having a lot of trouble with this positions section... earlier, when the brother was next to the table, "brother" went first in the sentence, and now that a chair is next to the table, "table" is going first...do people always go first and when it's an object it's changed?
It has nothing to do with people vs. objects. It is about topic vs. subject.
'There is a chair next to the table' is different from 'The chair is next to the table'.
In the sentence, 'My brother is next to the table', it is pretty clear that the topic of the sentence is 'My brother'. When describing 'a chair' being next to 'the table', it is more likely that 'the table' is the topic.
I do not believe your explanation is accurate. The に particle marks the location, regardless of where in the sentence it is. You should be able to place "椅子が" and " テーブルのよこに" arbitrarily, as long as "あります" is at the end. The placement of "一つ" might not be arbitrary, and that was my question. Hope this clarifies it.
It has nothing to do with に. It has to do with what the topic is. There are two clauses in the sentence and their location within the sentence is important.
In writing it the way you have, you've broken up the second clause and by moving 椅子が to the beginning of the sentence you have marked it as the topic. While が is referred to as the 'subject particle', it often serves to specify the topic when placed early on in the sentence.
I hate that it's never here to teach me why freaking any of these sentences break rules that we learned in previous lessons! Like why? And the "tip" is less than helpful here since it only explains the basics. Like I need to know when you freaking want me to put the counters in and if its unnecessary, then please let me learn what's actually important.
With this lesson alone, I'm on the verge of rage quitting this app all together! Wtf??????
I'm also in the camp that the English sentence ought to say One chair is next to the table. I feel like the ga hitotsu comes out of nowhere since my experience in Japanese is that people use singular and plural interchangeably for 'a' and 'some' without worrying how many. So 'a chair' would just be isu, same as 'the chair' would be isu. Either the English here is clunky, or the Japanese, in either case one needs tweaking.