Introductory There


In English, the most common way of indicating existence is by using the structure there + to be. Normally there is an adverb of place. But the introductory there has no adverbial sense and is just used to introduce the sentence.

  • There is a hole in my shoes. (More natural than A hole is in my shoes.)
  • There is a bridge over the river.

There are is used with plural subjects.

  • There are two people in the room. (More natural than Two people are in the room.)
  • Once upon a time there were three wicked brothers.
  • There have been many such rumours.
  • There must be a reason for it.

Introductory there can also be used with some intransitive verbs, or with an intransitive verb + to be.

  • There seems to be some misunderstanding between them.
  • There happened to be no one nearby to help her.
  • There fell a deep silence upon them.
  • There grew a warm friendship between the two.

Definite subjects

There is not normally used in a sentence with a definite subject (e.g. a noun with a definite article, or a proper name)

  • The door was open. (NOT There was the door open.)
  • Peter was at the party. (NOT There was Peter at the party.)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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