Level: beginner

English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. > He was a teacher. (NOT Was a teacher.)
I'm waiting for my wife.She is late. (NOT Is late.)

... except for the imperative:

Go away.
Play it again, please.


If there is no other subject, we use there to talk about:

  • where or when something is:

There's an interesting book on the shelf.
There'll be an eclipse of the moon tonight.

  • a number or amount:

There is plenty of bread left.
There were twenty people at the meeting.

  • something existing or happening:

There's a small problem.
There was a nasty fight.


We use it to talk about:

  • times and dates:              

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

  • the weather:

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

We use it with the verb be and an –ing form or to-infinitive to express opinions:

It's great living here.
It's nice to meet you.

Subjects of sentences


it and there as dummy subjects 1


it and there as dummy subjects 2



Many thanks

First task Total score is 10 out of 10 (100%) and the second task I have
Total score is 10 out of 14 (71%)

Hi dears ,

I wounder about the following sentence ;

"_____’s red wine or white. Which would you prefer?"

why we use ( there ) instead of (it) ?!

Although the speaker was given an option using a preposition (or) . I think if they used ( and ) it would be more suitable for ( there ) but using ( or ) gives the feeling to use ( it).

Please advise


Hello again Nour,

In this case, you're not saying that a bottle of wine is red or that it's white. You're saying that there are two options (red wine and white wine). Since you're not identifying a bottle of wine, but rather saying that two options exist, 'there' is the correct form.

Using 'and' or 'or' doesn't affect the choice of 'it' or 'there'. You could say 'there's red wine and white wine', though since you say 'which would you prefer?' after, 'or' is better since it implies a choice of one or the other.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your quick reply :) I really appreciate that.

Why we use indefenite article in this clause? We can't use definite article with "there"?
There is a party at Nick’s tonight.

Hello Elmar,

It's possible to use 'the' here. The indefinite article is more common, though, since 'there is' is often used to announce an event. If you use 'the', the party has already been mentioned previously in the conversation in some way.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply. I already understood given above but yet I not understood this clause:
There is the/a book on the table.
Which article we use in the above clause? "The" or "a"? We not mentioned previously but we know exactly what is book. Example, I know the book is physics book and I say: "There is the book is on the table". This is correct?

Hello Elmar,

Unless you or the people you are speaking to have already specifically mentioned the book on the table, 'a' would probably be the correct article to use here. I say 'probably correct' because it really depends on what your intentions are.

If you use 'the' and it hasn't been mentioned previously in your conversation, it could imply, for example, that you think the other people are ignoring what you see as very obvious, i.e. the book on the table.

Our choice of an article is really about whether we regard a subject as one that has been mentioned or not in our conversation. It can be quite difficult to learn to use them correctly in English but the good news is that if you make a mistake with them, it doesn't usually cause any major problems in terms of comprehension.

I hope this helps you. If you still feel unsure about it, you're welcome to ask again, but I'd also encourage you to pay special attention to how they are used as you read and listen to English. Ask us about uses you don't understand. Over time, I think you'll understand how they are used more of the time. And finally, you might also consider taking a class where you live, as a teacher would be able to help you in person much more effectively.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot, Kirk! I already understood.