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    #1

    What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    In this set expression, is it a PREPOSITION or an ADVERB.

    One person says.... If we rewrite the sentence as "Let light be there," it becomes clear that "there" modifies the verb to be, and therefore it is an adverb. It is like saying, "Put the light there." Back in the days when we were taught how to diagram sentences, 'there' in this usage was diagrammed as an adverb, adjusting the word order to "Let light be there."

    Another person says.... i
    t's the same usage as 'There's a strange cat in the garden' or 'Is there a doctor in the house?' You can't divide 'there' from the verb. It has no meaning by itself, but if it HAD, it would be a preposition, not an adverb.

    What do you think UsingEnglish forumers... As a word used to render a grammatical construction in another language, does it not have be classified with an English "part of speech." ?

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    #2

    Re: What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    It's part of the idea 'there is' like in your example There's a strange cat in the garden, which we use to state what does or not exist. God ordered the existence of the World: "And there was light". So, metaphysically speaking, you cannot divide there from is.

    It makes a bit of sense to me personally to consider it an adverb, but not a lot. I'm struggling to see how it can be a preposition at all - can you show how?

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    #3

    Re: What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    Huddleston and Pullum (2002. 1391 consider it to be a pronoun. The Cambridge ALD lists it as a pronoun. I think of it as dummy 'there'; I don't worry about what part speech label I should apply to it.

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    #4

    Re: What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    As Piscean says, I can't see much point in labelling it as a certain part of speech. What could that achieve? (I've no idea how they could justify it as a pronoun, though!)

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    #5

    Re: What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    (I've no idea how they could justify it as a pronoun, though!)
    I see little justification for the adverb label, either.

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    #6

    Re: What is it... The word "THERE" in "Let there be light."

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I can't see much point in labelling it as a certain part of speech. What could that achieve? (I've no idea how they could justify it as a pronoun, though!)
    In a typical tree diagram, both word category (part-of-speech) and function labels are assigned to each word, so knowing the category can be important. In any case, the OP did actually ask about its part of speech, which is "pronoun" (dummy pronoun to be precise.)

    One piece of evidence that supports it being a pronoun is that it can be a subject in interrogative tags:

    There was no evidence to support that, was there?

    Only pronouns are admissible in a tag like that one, thus proving that "there" must be a pronoun as subject.

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