"There is a towel on the shelf."
Translation:Det finns en handduk på hyllan.
Varfor är handuken "ligger" på hyllan inte? (I hope that sentence is correct :D ) I thought objects "lay", "sit", "stand" on things.
Det ligger en handduk på hyllan is an accepted translation. Handduken ligger på hyllan cannot be accepted, it both changes word order and makes the towel definite.
Why not "Det är en handduk i hyllan"? I thought "det finns" was for something rather permanent.
And you're right, but it's unfortunately just a general guideline - not a rule.
In this case, using det är makes it sound like "it is" rather than "there is", which I suspect is the reason that det finns sounds better.
"Det är" always sounds like "it is" to me, but it's frequently used on Duolingo to mean "there is". Take, for example, "Det är kaffe på kudden."
I know - it's a very tricky thing to learn, because there are no exact rules, there's a lot of overlap, and natives don't always agree entirely on how to use them. Unfortunately, I think trial and error might be the only really good way to get a good hang of it.
So what makes this an exception to the permanence of "det finns"? The fact that it's a towel, or the fact that it's on a shelf? Would you say "Det finns en handduk på bordet" or "Det är en kopp på hyllan"? I still don't get it.
It's hard to tell for sure, honestly. I would guess that it's because the statement is basically saying that a towel exists for your usage, rather than what it's doing on the shelf.
My question is more about 'finns' and whether or not ligger is also possible. I've got used to not using finns when objects are on the table etc so it's a surprise to see finns here.