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

Hello,
There has been an accident. I hope no one is hurt.
There has been an accident. I hope no one was hurt.

Are they have the same meaning?

Hello Ola Jamal,

There is a difference in certain contexts. The accident happened in the (recent) past in both sentences. The sentence with 'is' describes the present situation - whether or not people are hurt now. The sentence with 'was' describes the situation when the accident happened, but does not mean that the people are not still hurt. If the accident was very recent then it is quite likely that the people would not have recovered from any injuries and so the use of 'is' or 'was' would make no difference, but this is a question of the specific context in which the sentence is used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I think I got it.
Thank you.

Nice, very nice

Thank you for the exercises.
I love it.

Hello, it says:
If we want to show the subject of the to-infinitive we use for:

There was plenty for "us" to read in the apartment
There was nothing for "them" to watch on television.

the question is why we have to use "object pronouns" as the "subject" of to-infinitive?
i know it doesn't make sense if we use object pronouns in that case, but it just made me a bit confused. i would appreciate if you could clarify me.

Hello Malthael,

After a preposition such as 'for' we must have an object, and so an object preposition is used. It does look unusual and in fact it is unusual - it is an example of what is called 'exceptional case-marking'.

You can read more about this here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, :)
What is the rule for "There are" and "There were"?. I don't know when to use them.

Hello mjmangibin1992,

There may be some exceptions, but in general 'there are' refers to a present time and 'there were' refers to the past or an unreal time (e.g. in a second conditional structure). Both are plural forms -- the singular forms are 'there is' and 'there was' respectively.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,i have a question:
Don’t forget, _____’s your mum’s birthday tomorrow.
Can we use in this sentence both of them?it also there?

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