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




I'd like to ask you something. My teacher told me about the word "live". It doesn't accept the ing-form according to the grammatic. Is it true?

Thank you!

Hello adamjr,

The form 'living' is a perfectly correct form. It is the present participle/gerund form of the verb 'live'.

Your teacher may have been talking about the word 'life', which is a noun and does not have an -ing form.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I love to warm up my English like this.

Sir, Could I use there like- in first sentence
"She was asking you to check if in the bank account, there has been deposited a amount of 10,000 rupees and could I put the parse 'in the bank account' in the end of the sentence as well"
or can it be made like this only-
"She was asking you to check if an amount of 10,000 rupees has been deposited in the bank account" are both right ?

Hello SonuKumar,

In an older style of English, the kind of phrasing that you're asking about (with 'there') was more common, but these days it is so rare that I wouldn't advise using it in the vast majority of situations.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Teachers,
I have a sentence here:
"Venezuela does not produce wheat and relies on imports bought in by the government which it then sends to mills where it is ground and then distributed."
There are 2 'it' in this sentence, one refer to 'Venezuela' the other refer to 'wheat'. I wonder is it correct to use 'it' in this way, isn't it seem ambiguous to the reader?
Thank you

Hello Kaisoo93,

I have no problem understanding that sentence, but it might be a good idea to rephrase it so as to eliminate any potential confusion. For example, you could put 'send' in the passive voice, something like '... brought in by the government, which are then sent to mills where it ...' I'd recommend using a comma before 'which', and also note that the verb should be 'brought' (not 'bought').

You could also do a more substantial rephrasing (though I don't think it's necessary) such as: 'Venezuela does not produce wheat and relies on government-acquired imports, which are sent to mills to be ground and distributed.'

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Can you please tell me where is the subject and verb in
There is a book

Hello Hope150097,

The subject is 'There' and the verb is 'is'.

The sentence is an example of a 'dummy subject'. You can read more about dummy subjects here and here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. Is it possible to use the dummy subject 'there' not with the verb 'to be' but with other verbs? Would these sentences be correct:
In the room, there stood a desk.
In the room, there were gathered people.