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The kinds of the doer - 'There' as Preparatory, introductory subject OR dummy, empty subject Options
A cooperator
Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 6:50:33 PM

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Hi Everyone!


As far as I know 'there' and 'it' can be called dumb subjects.
However, I read "There" is quite often used as a preparatory subject with modal verbs, especially when these are followed by "be".
But, I don't know if 'there' or 'it' can be used with singular or plural ordinary auxiliary or main verb.

There may be rain later today.


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NKM
Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 11:33:09 PM

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"There" and "it" are two very different idiomatic ways to start a clause.

"It " is a true dummy subject when used to start a clause about weather or environmental conditions. As such, it is a singular pronoun, and thus calls for a singular verb form.
- It rained last night.
- It stopped snowing almost as soon as it had started.
- It gets dark early during the winter.


"There" is a dummy adverb, not a noun or pronoun, so it is not really a "subject" at all. It cannot be either singular or plural; the verb will be singular or plural according to the real subject of the clause that follows it.
- There was an accident on the highway.
- There are several ways to get the job done.
- There came a time when we had to decide what to do.


A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 8:03:47 PM

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NKM wrote:
"There" and "it" are two very different idiomatic ways to start a clause.

"It " is a true dummy subject when used to start a clause about weather or environmental conditions. As such, it is a singular pronoun, and thus calls for a singular verb form.
- It rained last night.
- It stopped snowing almost as soon as it had started.
- It gets dark early during the winter.


"There" is a dummy adverb, not a noun or pronoun, so it is not really a "subject" at all. It cannot be either singular or plural; the verb will be singular or plural according to the real subject of the clause that follows it.
- There was an accident on the highway.
- There are several ways to get the job done.
- There came a time when we had to decide what to do.



Thanks a lot, NKM
But, neither do I think that "several ways" is a subject, nor do I think that "an accident" is a subject. I think they are both identifiers since "to be" doesn't have an object. So, the verb agrees with the identifiers, and not with dummy subject "there".
I never ever heard that a verb agrees with what comes after it. On the contrary, a verb always agrees with the subject.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 6:15:53 AM

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Could anyone please reply to me?
But, neither do I think that "several ways" is a subject, nor do I think that "an accident" is a subject. I think they are both identifiers since "to be" doesn't have an object. So, the verb agrees with the identifiers, and not with dummy subject "there".
I never ever heard that a verb agrees with what comes after it. On the contrary, a verb always agrees with the subject.

Also, why is the verb here in the statement below a singular although "a lot" following verb.
There’s a lot to consider when designing an online ad, such as the target audience, marketing objectives and brand experience. Create ads that address all these factors and stand out from the online noise.


Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
NKM
Posted: Friday, December 8, 2017 5:52:29 PM

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A cooperator wrote:
Could anyone please reply to me?
But, neither do I think that "several ways" is a subject, nor do I think that "an accident" is a subject. I think they are both identifiers since "to be" doesn't have an object. So, the verb agrees with the identifiers, and not with dummy subject "there".
I never ever heard that a verb agrees with what comes after it. On the contrary, a verb always agrees with the subject.

Also, why is the verb here in the statement below a singular although "a lot" following verb.
There’s a lot to consider when designing an online ad, such as the target audience, marketing objectives and brand experience. Create ads that address all these factors and stand out from the online noise.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

You may call them "identifiers", but they are indeed the subjects of their respective clauses. Whatever you call them, you're right that they do govern whether the associated verb needs to be singular or plural.

A verb does indeed agree with its subject, even when the subject comes after the verb. 
- "After the rain comes a rainbow; after the autumn come the storms of winter."



"A lot  ", by itself, is usually singular, as in "There's a lot to consider." But "a lot of  " can be either singular or plural, according to what follows it.
- "A lot of food goes to waste, even while a lot of people go hungry."

A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:38:24 PM

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NKM wrote:
You may call them "identifiers", but they are indeed the subjects of their respective clauses. Whatever you call them, you're right that they do govern whether the associated verb needs to be singular or plural.

A verb does indeed agree with its subject, even when the subject comes after the verb. 
- "After the rain comes a rainbow; after the autumn come the storms of winter."



"A lot  ", by itself, is usually singular, as in "There's a lot to consider." But "a lot of  " can be either singular or plural, according to what follows it.
- "A lot of food goes to waste, even while a lot of people go hungry."



Thanks a lot, NKM

I read in Michael Swan's book for Practical English Usage, "586-Section", the following:
Quote:
There:
The spelling of "there" is used for two words with completely different pronunciations and uses
1- adverb of place
There (pronounced /ðeə(r)/) is an adverb meaning 'in that place'.
What's that green thing over there?
There's the book I was looking for.

2)Introductory subject:
There (most often pronounced /ðə(r)/) is used as an introductory/preparatory subject in sentences beginning "there is", "there are", "there might be" etc.
There's a book under the piano.
There is:
1- Use: in sentences which say that something exists(or does not exist) somewhere, we usually use 'there' as a kind of preparatory subject, and put the real subject after the verb. Note pronunciation of 'there': usually /ðə(r)/, not /ðeə(r)/.
There is a hole in my tights. (More natural than A hole is in my tights.)
There is ice on the lake. (More natural than Ice is on the lake.)
It cannot be used in this way.
There is a lot of noise in the street. (NOT It is a lot noise in the street.)
There are is used with plural subjects.
I don't know how many people there are in the waiting room. (NOT.... how many people there is....)
However, there's can begin sentences with plural subjects in informal speech.
There's two policemen at the door, Dad.
There's some grapes in the fridge, if you're still hungry.

With some verbs(e.g. say, think, fee, report, presume, understand), the passive structure is possible with 'three' as a 'preparatory subject'.
There are thought to be more than 3.000 different languages in the world.(= It is thought that there are...).
There was said to be disagreement between Ministers.
.......
.......

still other details, I didn't need to write since it is not necessary.


My questions are:
1- I am now starting to be confused between when 'there' is a dummy/empty OR preparatory/introductory. However, I read somewhere "Sometimes we need to use a 'dummy' or 'empty' or 'artificial' subject when there is no subject attached to the verb, and where the real subject is somewhere else in the clause. It and there are the two dummy subjects used in English: It's always interesting to find out about your family history."

2- I did find Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English pronounces 'there' as the same when it is a pronoun or adverb there1 /ðeə, ðə $ ðer, ðər/ . Thus, why Michael Swan said "there" is used for two words with completely different pronunciations". I think it boils down to dialect differences. I, myself, pronounce the second sound of 'there'/ðeə/ as the second sound of 'hair /heə/

3- I really didn't find any different in the use between the two sentences below. So, how to know if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or introductory/preparatory subject?:
There's the book I was looking for.
There's a book under the piano.

4- If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.', then how would I have known if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or an introductory/preparatory subject?

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Fyfardens
Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 9:02:40 AM
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A cooperator wrote:
3- I really didn't find any differentce in the use between the two sentences below. So, how to do I know if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or introductory/preparatory subject?:
1. There's the book I was looking for.
2. There's a book under the piano.


1. Context and (in speech) stress will yell us that 'there' is locating the book.
2. 'Under the piano' locates the book, so 'there's' cannot be doing that.




Quote:
4- If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.',


That is a sentence we are not likely to encounter very often. If we do hear/see it, context will make the meaning clear -

I have been looking for some books, and I can see one of them there.
OR
I was looking for a book once. I am going to tell you about this.




I speak British English (standard southern, slightly dated).
A cooperator
Posted: Friday, January 19, 2018 11:06:28 PM

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Joined: 10/27/2011
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Fyfardens wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
3- I really didn't find any differentce in the use between the two sentences below. So, how to do I know if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or introductory/preparatory subject?:
1. There's the book I was looking for.
2. There's a book under the piano.


1. Context and (in speech) stress will yell us that 'there' is locating the book.
2. 'Under the piano' locates the book, so 'there's' cannot be doing that.




Quote:
4- If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.',


That is a sentence we are not likely to encounter very often. If we do hear/see it, context will make the meaning clear -

I have been looking for some books, and I can see one of them there.
OR
I was looking for a book once. I am going to tell you about this.




I am sorry I still don't get it. Would you be so kind as to be a little bit detailed?



Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, January 20, 2018 3:36:22 PM

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Could anyone at this splendid forum take some of their precious time out to really address these points of mine and really reply to them generously as much as they can?

My questions are:
1- I am now starting to be confused between when 'there' is a dummy/empty OR preparatory/introductory. However, I read somewhere "Sometimes we need to use a 'dummy' or 'empty' or 'artificial' subject when there is no subject attached to the verb, and where the real subject is somewhere else in the clause. It and there are the two dummy subjects used in English: It's always interesting to find out about your family history."

2- I did find Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English pronounces 'there' as the same when it is a pronoun or adverb there1 /ðeə, ðə $ ðer, ðər/ . Thus, why Michael Swan said "there" is used for two words with completely different pronunciations". I think it boils down to dialect differences. I, myself, pronounce the second sound of 'there'/ðeə/ as the second sound of 'hair /heə/

3- I really didn't find any difference in use between the two sentences below. So, how do I know if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or introductory/preparatory subject?
There's the book I was looking for.
There's a book under the piano.

I.e., do you now what part of speech "there" is (pronoun or an adverb of a place) in "There's the book I was looking for."?
Also, do you now what part of speech "there" is (pronoun or an adverb of a place) in "There's a book under the piano."?




4- If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.', then how would I have known if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or an introductory/preparatory subject?

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
palapaguy
Posted: Saturday, January 20, 2018 9:24:13 PM

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A cooperator wrote:


If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.', then how would I have known if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or an introductory/preparatory subject?


You don't NEED to know that. It's likely that even the speaker who spoke those words couldn't answer your question. Native speakers care only about context and meaning, NOT about grammar theory.

It is NOT correct to focus so much on grammar if all you want is to be able to use English effectively. Asking such advanced academic questions in poorly-formed ungrammatical sentences as you do makes no sense. You should engage face-to-face with English speakers and talk with them, instead of wasting time in a free forum such as this and posting about grammar theory that you can't put into practise.
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 5:42:44 AM

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palapaguy wrote:
A cooperator wrote:


If it had been said 'There's a book I was looking for.', then how would I have known if 'there' is used as an adverb of a place or an introductory/preparatory subject?


You don't NEED to know that. It's likely that even the speaker who spoke those words couldn't answer your question. Native speakers care only about context and meaning, NOT about grammar theory.

It is NOT correct to focus so much on grammar if all you want is to be able to use English effectively. Asking such advanced academic questions in poorly-formed ungrammatical sentences as you do makes no sense. You should engage face-to-face with English speakers and talk with them, instead of wasting time in a free forum such as this and posting about grammar theory that you can't put into practise.


Well.
Give me another example in which "there" is used as an adverb of a place, and when it is used as a pronoun(either a dummy/empty subject, or introductory / preparatory subject). Understanding the use of "there" will be just for the sake of composing my own sentences or understanding the intended meaning of "there" whenever I need to use it.

Also, could you please confirm for me if you pronounce the word "there" as the same regardless if it is used as an adverb or pronoun?
I really think it boils down to dialect differences. I, myself, pronounce the second sound of 'there'/ð/ as the second sound of 'hair /h/.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 9:26:22 AM
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A cooperator wrote:
Give me another example in which "there" is used as an adverb of a place, and when it is used as a pronoun(either a dummy/empty subject, or introductory / preparatory subject). Understanding the use of "there" will be just for the sake of composing my own sentences or understanding the intended meaning of "there" whenever I need to use it.

Also, could you please confirm for me if you pronounce the word "there" as the same regardless if it is used as an adverb or pronoun?
I really think it boils down to dialect differences. I, myself, pronounce the second sound of 'there'/ð/ as the second sound of 'hair /h/.

I do not consciously pronounce them differently. When 'there' is an adverb of place, I say it with more emphasis, and slightly more slowly. The pronoun (e.g. "there's a...") can, in rapid speech, have the "ere's" sound shortened to an "ez" sound, but this shortening is not done consciously.

Whether "there" is an adverb or a pronoun can often only be determined from the wider context, rather than just the sentence in question. For example:

1. I could not find the book anywhere. Then today, I came into this room, and there was the book I had been looking for. [Adverb of place: the book was there, in this very room. We would stress the word "there" in speech.]

2. The table had various things on it. There was the book I had been looking for, another book which looked interesting, and some newspapers and magazines. [Here, "the book I had been looking for" is not so important; it is just one of "various things" that there were on the table. In this context, "there" is a pronoun, and is not stressed.]

Try making up your own examples, including some in which you would stress "there" in speech and some in which you would not. That will help you to decide in each case whether "there" is an adverb of place or a pronoun.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 5:15:11 PM

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I agree with Audiendus - from the viewpoint of someone who constantly USES the language (as opposed to Swann who 'studies about it') the two words "there, the adverb" and "there, the pronoun") are not specifically pronounced differently.

As you say, A Cooperator, it depends on dialect.

In many sentences, "there the adverb" would be one of the stressed words of the sentence.
In many sentences, "there, the pronoun" would be unstressed.
However, these are not RULES.

I would even, in many cases, write the sentences showing the stress as it is important).
"I couldn't find the book anywhere. Then today, I came into this room, and there was the book I'd been looking for."
Or, more likely in speech, "I couldn't find the book anywhere. Then today, I came in, and there it was!" (In both of these, "There" would be pronounced /ðeəʳ/.)

"The table had various things on it. There was the book I'd been looking for, another book which looked interesting, and some newspapers and magazines." (in this one, "there" would be unstressed and I would pronounce it more as eəʳ/. It would still be a definite 'double vowel' sound, but with much less stress on the /e/.)

Unlike Audiendus, I pronounce "there's" more fully.
Audiendus says /ðez/ (when it is unstressed) - whereas I would still say /ðeʳz/ (unstressed) or /ðeəʳz/ when stressed.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2018 6:36:38 AM

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Audiendus wrote:
Try making up your own examples, including some in which you would stress "there" in speech and some in which you would not. That will help you to decide in each case whether "there" is an adverb of place or a pronoun.


Thank you both of you, Audiendus, Drag0nspeaker, for your excellent explanations.
1) If I write "The word 'a‧pos‧tro‧phe' has four syllables since there are four vowel sounds.", then you think "there" can be an adverb of place. I think it is an adverb of place(there is stress on the second sound). But, I kinda feel it is "a pronoun" used as a preparatory / dummy subject.

2) I think "there" is a pronoun (no stress on the second sound) used as an introductory "dummy" subject here in "The first "English" is a normal countable noun - there are several languages or 'versions' of the language - American English, British English, Australian English, formal English, plain English, legal English and so on."

3) You think we can say "He told me that they lived in the US, and they there had a vape store. He also told me they also had some properties there.
In the third example, there are two subjects " they" and "there" and two objects "some properties" and "there". Or, you think "there" is an adverb of place.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Audiendus
Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2018 9:08:29 PM
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A cooperator wrote:
1) If I write "The word 'a‧pos‧tro‧phe' has four syllables since there are four vowel sounds.", then you think "there" can be an adverb of place. I think it is an adverb of place(there is stress on the second sound). But, I kinda feel it is "a pronoun" used as a preparatory / dummy subject.

It is definitely a pronoun used as a preparatory/dummy subject. It is not an answer to "Where are four vowel sounds?", so it is not an adverb of place. It would not be stressed in speech.

A cooperator wrote:
2) I think "there" is a pronoun (no stress on the second sound) used as an introductory "dummy" subject here in "The first "English" is a normal countable noun - there are several languages or 'versions' of the language - American English, British English, Australian English, formal English, plain English, legal English and so on."

Yes.

A cooperator wrote:
3) You think we can say "He told me that they lived in the US, and they there had a vape store. He also told me they also had some properties there.

The natural word order is "they had a vape store there". [Adverb of place]

A cooperator wrote:
In the third example, there are two subjects " they" and "there" and two objects "some properties" and "there". Or, you think "there" is an adverb of place.

They had a vape store there.
Subject: They
Object: a vape store
Adverb of place: there.


Even if we use the unnatural word order "they there had a vape store", "there" is still an adverb of place. It would make no sense to regard "there" as a (dummy) subject here.

They also had some properties there.
Subject: They
Object: some properties
Adverb of place: there.
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