***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) As I understand it, the purpose of the "there" construction is to "throw" the subject
toward the end of the sentence. For example, I can say "The United States has 50
states" or "There are 50 states in the United States," It would sound strange to say
"50 states are in the United States."
(2) My teachers told me that when you want to choose the correct verb form
(singular or plural), just pretend that the word "there" has disappeared.
(3) I read your interesting link. "There ____ the first signs of Tibetan culture."
Now let's forget "there," so we are left with: ___ the first signs of Tibetan culture.
Then we put the sentence in correct order, and we get: The first signs of Tibetan
culture are ....
(4) Concrete buildings seven storeys [floors] high are .... (OR: There are concrete
buildings seven stories high ,,,,)
(5) IMHO, the "there" construction is often NOT literary. For example, we
would say "There's a party on Friday. Can you come?" The literary/formal
might be: A party is scheduled for Friday. May we have the pleasure of
(6) I agree with you that the sentence that you have given us is literary. No one
would speak like this. If you did, you would sound like a book. If you were writing to a
friend, you might express the idea something like this:
Then I saw some Tibetan writings. The script with long curved stems going way up and
down is really beautiful. They say that these writings were the first signs of Tibetan
culture. (As you can see, I needed three sentences for an informal letter to a friend
or in a conversation. In a formal sentence, however, everything was explained neatly
in one sentence.)
Interested in Language