"There are not many apples."
Translation:사과가 별로 없습니다.
For clarity, 별로 and (level of formality) verb ending will be disregarded in the explanation.
있다 & 없다 ( = There is & There is not ) always require a real subject i.e. they need to be preceded by a noun marked by 이/가.
("There" in this kind of expression is called "apparent/ostensible subject")
'N'이/가 없다 = There is not any 'N'.
There are not any/no apples = 사과가 없다 (single statement)
If then you wish to tag "apples" as a topic i.e.
Speaking of apples, there aren't any or There aren't any apples (but ...) = 사과가는 없다 (Open topic for possible discussion).
By omitting the subject marker, the sentence has no subject.
사과는 없다 = Speaking of apples, there isn't.
--> The sentence is incomplete. Hence, marked 'wrong'.
I asked a fellow ALS 1954 student with a Korean wife about this. His reply follows:
Matt, I don't speak or understand Korean too well now, but I hear probably almost as much Korean spoken as English. A couple years ago I came across the same question you are asking. And consulted Hyoeun.
One of her brothers is named 은석. I have heard her utter sentences like the following countless times. 은석이는 어디있어요? When I asked about it, she said, 은석은 doesn't sound nice. But when a friend's name ends in a vowel she uses 은 after it. When I asked if she used the pattern for both speech and writing, she said "both". And after, a second, added, "I think it's the same for writing". I have heard MANY Koreans use this speech pattern. So I think your remark, " Sort of like the 'ny' of 'Johnny', is on point". ...
As for the sentence 사과가는 없다, she said, "That's not Korean. The 가 shouldn't be there."
많이 없다 = There isn't a lot/many ~ ( = there are some ~ )
많지 않다 = be not many ~ ( = be few ~)
별로 없다 = There are really none ~ = there are not exactly any ( = There is 'kinda' none / very few ). [별로 is a downtoner. It is usually used to soften the negativity of the sentence. ]
In usage, 많지 않다 = 별로 없다 but 별로 없다 is considered more colloquial (used a lot more in speech).