Unit 1.1

There, It

Introduction

Pronouns are words used to avoid repetitions of a noun. Subject pronouns replace a subject which is a person or a thing in a sentence.

We use there and it as subject pronouns in a sentence where there is no other subject. In this case, they are called empty or dummy subjects.

Form

There and it operate as dummy subjects when they appear at the beginning of a sentence that has no other subject. They convey no meaning but simply fill the position of the subject in the sentence.

They have this stucture:

There + verb to be + noun phrase
It + verb to be + finite / non finite clause

NOTE: There needs the singular verb if the noun phrase is singular and the plural verb if the noun phrase is plural, it can only be combined with a singular verb.

Example

There:

  1. There is a big problem. 
  2. There were fifty children in the bus. 
  3. There are dogs in my garden. 

It:

  1. It was snowing.
  2. It is Thursday. 
  3. It’s three miles to the next village. 
  4. It will be beautiful to live here. 

Use

We use there and it as dummy subjects to fill the position of the subject in sentences without one. By using them as dummy subject, the writer or speaker can delay introducing the real subject of the sentence.

We use there to:

  1. introduce a new topic (existential or introductory there);
  2. express numbers or quantities;
  3. express where or when something is.

We use it to:

  1. talk about the weather;
  2. talk about times and dates;
  3. talk about the distance;
  4. express opinions (with the verb to be in -ing or to infinitive form).

Summary

When the pronouns there and it take the place of the subject in the sentence, they are called dummy subjects.
We find them at the beginning of the sentence followed by the third singular form of the verb ‘to be’.
For example:
There is something I need to talk to you about.” = the pronoun there is followed by the third singular form is.

It is the 5th of August today.” = the pronoun it is followed by the third singular form is.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context sentence.

Related

There and it are used as subject pronouns in a sentence where there is no other subject. In this case, they are called empty or dummy subjects.

For better understanding:

More exercises

Exercises

External link to There, It exercises (133).




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