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,
One of the the sentences in Task 1 is : There’s red wine or white. Which would you prefer?
Why it is red wine "or" white not red wine "and" white
thanks

hello learnenglish.britishcouncil.org staff,
Thank you for your pretty and useful job that you are doing here.

to-infinitive = ing verb ?

Hello Ayman Alkaddour,

I'm afraid we can't answer so many questions from a single user at once (eight in a single day), especially when the question is one which is already answered on the site. We have pages devoted to the -ing form and the infinitive with and without to, and if you look for those pages then you'll be able to find the answer to your question. This page is on a completely different topic.

Please remember that we have many users on this site and we deal with many questions every day, as well as doing our normal (main) job of keeping the site running and adding new content. We're happy to help with user questions when we can, but we can't be personal teachers for our users!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello learnenglish.britishcouncil.org staff,
Thank you for your pretty and useful job that you are doing here.

In this sentences:
Look. It’s Sir Paul McCartney.
Who’s that? I think it’s John’s brother.
Is it the same when we use "he is" instead of "it's" ?

Hello Ayman Alkaddour,

Yes, in this context you can say 'it's' or 'he is' with no difference in meaning.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dear Sir:
I am new here, I really fond of this course unfortunately there is no branch of it in my country, I am really glad to find yours online , I want to ask something.
Should we use "more to " instead of " a lot of " in this sentence ?
OK, let’s start the meeting. there’s a lot to talk about!
OK, let's start the meeting. there's more to talk about!

Dear Soraj,

It wouldn't be grammatically wrong to use "more", but it would make sense only if you consider that something has been discussed prior to the meeting. When you use "more", it implies that the subject of the meeting will be a continuation of previous conversations.

On the other hand, "a lot" means "too much", "many things". On the given context, it doesn't require a connection with previous events to make sense.

Hello Soraj,

Both 'more to' and 'a lot to' are possible here, but the meaning is different. The first tells us the amount, while the second compares the amount now with before - i.e. that they have started the discussion but not finished it, or that someone has added extra items to those which were initially for discussion.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Respected sir,
considering following sentences
1) There were a lot of people shouting and waving.
2)There are a lot of people here.
here 'a' is confusing me. I think 'a' should not be in sentence as 'were' and 'are' are used for plural subjects and 'a' is used with singular nouns.[ I think so]
please rectify my confusion.
Thanks

Pages