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    #1

    object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Hello,

    Am I right about the function of the underlined words in the sentence below:

    There (formal subject) were a lot of people (object??) in the street.

    I'm also curious about such simple sentences as:

    Yesterday (subject) was Tuesday
    It was Tuesday yesterday (adverb)

    Are they equally common?

    I'd be very grateful for help.

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    #2

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    Am I right about the function of the underlined words in the sentence below:

    There (formal subject) were a lot of people (object??) in the street.
    "A lot of people" is the subject.
    I'm also curious about such simple sentences as:

    Yesterday (subject) was Tuesday
    It was Tuesday yesterday (adverb)

    Are they equally common?
    I think "Tuesday" is the subject in

    Yesterday was Tuesday.

    It's not a statement of fact. I just feel it is so, and I have this reasoning to support my view:

    "What was yesterday?"
    "Yesterday was Tuesday."


    "What" is obviously the subject in the question, so "Tuesday" must be the subject in the answer. The following dialogue is unlikely:

    "What was Tuesday?"
    "Yesterday was Tuesday."


    "Tuesday" is also the subject in (and I'm quite sure about this)

    Tuesday was yesterday.

    I'm unable to compare the popularities of

    Yesterday was Tuesday.

    and

    It was Tuesday yesterday.

    I hope someone else can.

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    #3

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Thank you, Birdeen!

    As for 'there+be" sentences, what part of speech is 'there'? Books say (Swan, for example) that 'there' is a preparatory (formal) subject. So there are two subjects in such structures?

    I completely agree that

    Tuesday (subject) was yesterday (object,as it's a noun here)

    Do you think that
    Yesterday (object) was Tuesday (subject) ?

    I wish I were better at linguistics :)

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    #4

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    "A lot of people" is the subject.
    It's the notional (or real) subject. The structural subject is There. We know that because English has SV word-order: the subject comes first.

    With There+Be (expletive, anticipatory) sentences the structural subject, shown in [1], can be replaced (usually) by the notional subject, shown in [2]:

    [1] There is a glass on the table.
    [2] A glass is on the table.


    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I think "Tuesday" is the subject in Yesterday was Tuesday.
    But... English has SV word-order, which makes Yesterday the subject (S), was the verb (V), and Tuesday a subject complement (SC).

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    #5

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thank you, Birdeen!

    As for 'there+be" sentences, what part of speech is 'there'? Books say (Swan, for example) that 'there' is a preparatory (formal) subject. So there are two subjects in such structures?
    I didn't know Swan said so. I'm sorry I have misinformed you then.

    Does he say why "there" is a subject? If a subject is "that what the sentence is about", then it's difficult to accept his assertion. What's his definition of subject?

    I wish I were better at linguistics :)
    I wish I were too!

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    #6

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    It's the notional (or real) subject. The structural subject is There. We know that because English has SV word-order: the subject comes first.

    With There+Be (expletive, anticipatory) sentences the structural subject, shown in [1], can be replaced (usually) by the notional subject, shown in [2]:

    [1] There is a glass on the table.
    [2] A glass is on the table.


    But... English has SV word-order, which makes Yesterday the subject (S), was the verb (V), and Tuesday a subject complement (SC).
    So the only reason is the word order? That would mean that "do" (or "neither"?) is the subject in

    Neither do I.

    wouldn't it?

    The following sentence was once discussed here too:

    Came Christmas.

    Is "came" the subject because of the SVO order?

    What's the point of saying that English is a strictly SVO language? Doesn't it make everything more complicated?

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    #7

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    So there are two subjects in such structures?
    Yes, there are two subjects. The first one (there) is the structural subject: it fills the S of the SV word-order slot. The other one (a glass) is the semantic subject: it carries the meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Do you think that
    Yesterday (object) was Tuesday (subject)?
    Yesterday is the subject, not the object.

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    #8

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    So the only reason is the word order? That would mean that "do" (or "neither"?) is the subject in

    Neither do I.

    wouldn't it?

    Isn't it an example of inversion, where word order changes? I think "I" is the subject here.

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    #9

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Isn't it an example of inversion, where word order changes? I think "I" is the subject here.
    I think so too. But why not call what happens in "there" sentences inversion too? Saying that those sentences have two subjects seems unnecessary to me.

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    #10

    Re: object/subject in 'there+be' sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    So the only reason is the word order? That would mean that "do" (or "neither"?) is the subject in

    Neither do I.

    wouldn't it?
    Of course not. They are not preparatory there+Be constructs.

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    What's the point of saying that English is a strictly SVO language? Doesn't it make everything more complicated?
    No one to my knowledge has ever said 'English is a strictly SVO language', aside from you, that is. (You may want to choose your words more carefully when reporting what you have read not to mention take a little more time reading what has actually been said. )

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