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



Hello Aoll212,

'help' is the correct form here. After modal verbs like 'may', the bare infinitive (also called 'first form' or 'base form') is used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hey! Could you explain these sentences.I couldn't understand the difference between these two.
They live on a busy road.There must be a lot of noise from traffic
They live on a busy road.It must be very noisy

Hello ogut,

In terms of meaning, there is not much difference between the sentences. The first one is a bit more specific since it mentions the source of the noise ('from traffic'), but otherwise they mean the same thing.

In terms of grammar, the first uses a form of 'there is' with a noun ('noise') and the second uses 'be' plus an adjective.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

"There was a lot of rain last night"
Can i say this like "It was raining too much last night" ??
Thank you in advance

Hello ko4kina,

'too much' is not the same as 'a lot of'. 'too much' means that it was more than you wanted, whereas 'a lot' just indicates quantity. Please see this page for a thorough explanation.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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,


The LearnEnglish Team

I think I got it.
Thank you.

Nice, very nice

Thank you for the exercises.
I love it.