English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. Was a teacher. > He was a teacher.
I’m waiting for my wife. Is late. > She is late.
Look at the time! Is half past two.> It’s half past two.

except for the imperative (see more)

Go away.
Play it again please.

If we have no other subject we use there or it.

there

We use there as a dummy subject with part of the verb be followed by a noun phrase. (see Clauses, sentences and phrases):

• to introduce a new topic:

There is a meeting this evening. It will start at seven.
There has been an accident. I hope no one is hurt.

• with numbers or quantities:

There was a lot of rain last night.
There must have been more than five hundred in the audience.

• to say where something is:

There used to be a playground at the end of the street.
There are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
I wonder if there will be anyone at home.

• with an indefinite pronoun or expressions of quantity and the to-infinitive:

There is nothing to do in the village.
There was plenty to read in the apartment
There was nothing to watch on television.
There is a lot of work to do

If we want to show the subject of the to-infinitive we use for:

There is nothing for the children to do in the village.
There was plenty for us to read in the apartment
There was nothing for them to watch on television.
There is a lot of work for you to do.

• with an indefinite pronoun or expressions of quantity and an -ing verb:

There is someone waiting to see you.
There were a lot of people shouting and waving.

We use a singular verb if the noun phrase is singular:

There is a meeting this evening. It will start at seven.
There was a lot of rain last night.
There is someone waiting to see you.

We use a plural verb if the noun phrase is plural:

There are more than twenty people waiting to see you.
There were some biscuits in the cupboard.
There were a lot of people shouting and waving.
 

It

We use it to talk about:

• times and dates:

It’s nearly one o’clock.
It’s my birthday.

• weather:

It’s raining.
It’s a lovely day.
It was getting cold.

• to give an opinion about a place:

It’s very cold in here.
It will be nice when we get home.
It’s very comfortable in my new apartment.

• to give an opinion followed by to-infinitive:

It’s nice to meet you.
It will be great to go on holiday.
It was interesting to meet your brother at last.

• to give an opinion followed by an -ing verb:

It’s great living in Spain.
It’s awful driving in this heavy traffic.
It can be hard work looking after young children.

  

Using "it" to talk about people

We use it to talk about ourselves:

• on the telephone:

Hello. It’s George.

• when people cannot see us:

[Mary knocks on door] It’s me. It’s Mary.

We use it to talk about other people:

• when we point them out for the first time:

Look. It’s Sir Paul McCartney.
Who’s that? I think it’s John’s brother.

• when we cannot see them and we ask them for their name:

[telephone rings, we pick it up] Hello. Who is it?
[someone knocks on door. We say:] Who is it

 

Task 1

 Exercise

Task 2

 Exercise

Section: 

Comments

hi, can you tell me which one is correct
There are a lot of people here
There is a lot of people here.
There are lots of people here.

Hi faisal0901,

This is a question which we are often asked and the correct answer is 'are' for both 'a lot of' and 'lots of'. The reason that this is confusing is that many people see 'a lot of' and think it must be a singular noun because it has 'a' at the beginning. However, the phrase is simply a quantifier and the verb should agree with the noun following it. Here, 'people' is a plural noun and so the verb should also be plural. The same rule is used with other similar quantifiers and so we say:

A thousand people are waiting outside

not

A thousand people is waiting outside

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What's correct or more common - Of course there's / it's the problem that the city has its own dialect.

Hello Ira Roma,

The first form could be correct in a variety of contexts. The second could also be correct, but would require a quite specific context.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Kirk, thanks a lot!

I don't understand the function of MUST in the sentence ''There must have been more than five hundred in the audience''. Thank you.

Hello Jennifer Espinosa,

We use 'must' in several ways. Here it is used for deduction or speculation, to mean 'I believe that there were...' or 'there surely were...'

You can read more about the use of various modal verbs for deduction on this page and this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

I don't undestand the difference between:
It isn't easy 'being' a nurse
and
It's stupid 'to drink and drive'
When am I going to use an opinion followed by to-infinitive and by an -ing verb?

Hello reyeslina,

I'm afraid there's no easy rule that will tell you when to use one form or the other – for the most part, it depends on the adjective that you use. There is a list of adjectives that are followed by infinitives on our to + infinitive page that might be a good place to start for you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hi this is ravindra i am new to the british council

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