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    #1

    Which sounds better and why?

    (1) There are many staff members in this company.
    (2) This company has many staff members.


    Do both of them sound natural?
    Which sounds better in what situation?

    a, There are two legs with a man.
    b, A man has two legs.


    I feel that b sounds better.

    I wonder in which case "there is/are" construction fits better, in which case "S has" does.

    c, There are four eggs on the plate.
    d, The plate has four eggs on it.




    Could you give me any clue?

  1. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Tere is and there are mean that something exists or happens, while the verb have (has) indicates possession. Sometimes they're interchangeable (like your examples 1 and 2), noticing that the verb have always needs a subject.

    In you second example, sentence b makes no sense, because A man has two legs, he was born with them, no one placed the legs there.

    And in your last example, sentence A is correct. The sentence B, though grammatical, sounds odd. Perhaps you could say 'I have four eggs on my plate'.
    Last edited by BrunaBC; 31-May-2012 at 18:41. Reason: typo : in -> on
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    #3

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    "The plate has 4 eggs on it" is fine, but the other way is much more natural. You wouldn't say you have eggs "in" your plate.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Sorry, I may not have read this correctly, but of course "A man has two legs" makes sense, and it makes infinitely more sense than "There are two legs with a man."

    An ant has six legs.
    A spider has eight legs.
    A man has two legs.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Sorry, I may not have read this correctly, but of course "A man has two legs" makes sense, and it makes infinitely more sense than "There are two legs with a man."

    An ant has six legs.
    A spider has eight legs.
    A man has two legs.
    Of course, that's what I said: i
    n you second example, sentence b makes no sense, because
    A man has two legs (this is sentence A, which is correct), he was born with them, no one placed the legs there.

    Maybe I did not express myself properly.
    Not a teacher.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by KEN JPN View Post
    a, There are two legs with a man.
    b, A man has two legs.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrunaBC View Post
    In you second example, sentence b makes no sense, because A man has two legs, he was born with them, no one placed the legs there.

    b is the correct way to say this. It does make sense, especially in an example like the one I gave above.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Well, if you say so who am I to disagree? But I would never say there are two legs with a man when I can say a man has two legs.
    Not a teacher.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Okay, one of us is obvisouly crazy.
    Sentence A was the one about two legs with a man. Sentence B is the one that says "a man has two legs."


    In my post, I didn't refer to A or B, I just quoted the words to say that the way sentence A is written is entirely unnatural and that the way B is written is natural.

    Twice, you posted that sentence B makes no sense. Now you say that you you would say it the way it's written in B.

    I will assume you simply made a mistake about which was A and which was B and that we are actually in agreement.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    Thank you very much for your instructive discussion over my questions.

    Let me sum up your opinions and confirm my understanding so far:

    (1) There are many staff members in this company.
    (2) This company has many staff members.


    These two sentences are interchangeable.

    (my understanding)
    Whichever language it may be, whether a sentence sounds natural or not generally depends on the context.
    Even though different sentences can describe the same fact, there should be some slight difference in the idea, feeling, emphasis or focus of the speaker.


    a, There are two legs with a man.
    b, A man has two legs.


    a- makes infinitely more sense than b

    (my understanding)
    Even to my ears, the sentence (a) sounds odd.
    I reflected the reason in myself, uttering these two sentences repeatedly to figure out what difference I can feel between them and why.

    When I first compared these two sentences without any context, I unconsciously felt that the speaker is referring to an attribute of a man. In that sense, taking "a man" as the subject of the sentence makes it clear that the speaker focuses on "a man" and is describing how he looks, what he possesses in nature.

    If so, even in the examples (1) and (2), the sentence (2) could express its attribute. The speaker is describing the company, while the sentence (1) objectively states that there are a lot of people and that they are in the company as an additional information.


    c, There are four eggs on the plate.
    d, The plate has four eggs on it.


    c-good / more natural than d
    d-fine/ sounds odd (though grammatical)

    "There is/are" construction can express the number of things/persons with equal naturalness.
    However, in a S-V construction, we may feel more comfortable when the S is Personal or something 'alive' than when it is just a thing/things, because a thing does not do anything with its own will.

    In addition, "having four eggs" is not the attribute of the plate. Maybe it would sound more natural if I say,
    "The plate has four roses printed on it".

    Any additional advice is welcome.

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Which sounds better and why?

    No, your summary is not correct. Your "a" sentence about the legs is completely strange. The "b" sentence is the natural one. Please read Dave's post again for the set about the eggs.

    However, you are right that context is what makes something natural or not.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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