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

Comments

Hi Van Hua,

'your mum's birthday' is like a date, which is why 'is' is correct here. It might help to think that in sentences with dummy subjects, 'it' usually identifies something and 'there' says that something exists.

Hope that helps!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirl,

Thank you

Best Regards
Van

There are four employee for SEO in the Company.
There are Niteesh to assist you regarding Web Services.
is it ok?

Hello Niteesh,

 

The best way to say this depends on who is speaking.

If someone else (not Niteesh) is saying it:

There are four employee dealing with SEO in the Company. Niteesh will assist you with Web Services.

 

If Niteesh is speaking:

There are four employee dealing with SEO in the Company. My name is Niteesh and I will assist you with Web Services.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Which is correct,
If you’re hungry, there is some lasagne in the fridge.
or
If you’re hungry, there are some lasagne in the fridge.

Hello appu,

Why don't you tell us what you think the answer is and why this is the case, and we'll be happy to tell you if you are right or not. Trying to work it out for yourself is a much more effective way to learn.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What about the following,which one is correct or better?Can anyone clarify these for me please ?
"It is no use......"
"There is no use......"
or
"there is no denial......"
"it is no denial...."

Hello Queenie-Chan,

Both of the first two phrases are commonly used. For example, 'The car won't start. It's no use (to try anymore) or 'There's no use in wasting our time trying to start the car'.

I'm afraid the other two phrases are not correct. 'there's no denying' is a common phrase -- you can see a definition and example sentence in the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'deny'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I hope you all are fine,
Suppose there is a TV in a room, someone (blind possibly so not able to see
the TV) asks: "are there any TVs in this room?"
NOW my question is:
what is the correct answer? "Yes, there are. There's a TV ..." or since
there's only one TV; "Yes, there is. There's a TV..."
If will be really thankful if you answer the question.

Hello Veteran,

The most precise answer in the second one, but the first one is not wrong, especially since you correct yourself as you speak (changing from plural to singular when specifying the number).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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