Introductory there

July 4, 2010pdf

In English, existence is usually indicated by the structure there + to be. There is actually an adverb of place, but the introductory there has no adverbial sense. It is merely used to introduce the sentence.

  • There are two people in the room. (More natural than ‘Two people are in the room’.)
  • There is a bridge over the river.
  • There have been many such rumors.
  • There is a hole in my tights.
    There was a lot of noise in the street.
  • There is no denying the fact that he stole the watch.

Note that in the last sentence we use a peculiar structure – no + gerund, which indicates impossibility.

  • There is no denying…= It is impossible to deny…

With plural subjects we use there are.

  • There were many accidents last year.

Note that there is is also common before plural subjects in informal speech.

  • There is some apples in the fridge. OR There are some apples in the fridge.

Introductory there can also be used with some intransitive verbs.

  • There seems to be a problem.
  • There came a knock at the door.
  • There happened to be no on near to save the boy.
  • There grew a warm friendship between the two.
  • There spread a rumor that he had been killed.

Note that introductory there is not used in a sentence if there is a definite subject.

  • John was at the party. (NOT There was John at the party.)
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