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 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.

Hello exvano,

Yes, that is perfectly fine. Putting the prepositional phrase first makes the style quite literary but it is certainly not incorrect.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi All,

Thank you for your help. Your lessons are so useful! :)

Hi Sir,

Can you please explain why we don't have question mark for "where" section? As it seems they are asking question.

Thank you in advance for your help

Hello Bilal Mustafa,

We'd be happy to help you, but could you please tell me which section you mean? I don't see a 'where' section on the page or in the exercises. Have I missed it?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir,

Thank you for your reply. I am talking about this section

" 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."


Hello Bilal.Mustafa,

Thanks for clarifying that. None of the three sentences there are questions, which is why they don't have a question mark at the end. The first two are statements and the last one ('I wonder'), although similar to a question, doesn't have a question mark as normally none is used in such a sentence.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Sir. could you please explain what is the difference between 'It’s very cold in here' and 'it's very cold here' and also 'is there anybody in here? and 'is there anybody here? and when do I use 'in here' and 'here'?

Hello mohamedfathy,

In general, 'here' is more general than 'in here', since 'in' implies some kind of closed space. For example, if you mean 'in Antarctica', which is a rather large space, then 'It's very cold here' would be better, whereas if you're talking about 'in the kitchen', which is a closed space, then 'It's very cold in here' (maybe it's winter and the window is broken, so it is cold) would probably be more likely.

But sometimes we could say 'in here', we just say 'here', as it's simpler. But if you really want to emphasise a space that is closed in some way, 'in here' is what you should use.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team