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  1. IsaacZ's Avatar
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    #1

    Question He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Iím a teacher of English from China and I am teaching my students how to diagram a sentence using certain lines and marks. There are two sentences in our textbook I am not sure how to diagram:

    "Look, there's a shark out there," I screamed.
    He's telling us there's a whale out there for us.


    My question focuses on the phrase "out there". What are their parts of sentences?

    I think it is used as an adverbial in the first sentence and in the second, together with "for us", it is used as a postpositive attributive (post modifier). But other teachers here gave a different opinion, saying "out there" in the second sentence is also an adverbial but put before the post modifier "for us". According to them, this sentence can be rewritten as: He's telling us there's a whale for us out there.

    I don't agree with them because I did find some examples where "out there" is used as a post modifier:

    This seems to be one of the oldest cliches out there, but in my experience it works.
    So much writing out there in the world and who wants to read
    it?
    Like any other person out there, I fall into habits, good and bad.

    Just about every database out there has tools for doing this
    .
    Nobody out there can get more from that group of players.

    If the above sentences can prove that "out there" can be used as a post modifier, then why can't it be used this way in a "THERE BE" structure?

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacZ View Post
    But other teachers here gave a different opinion, saying "out there" in the second sentence is also an adverbial but put before the post modifier "for us". According to them, this sentence can be rewritten as: He's telling us there's a whale for us out there.
    Yes, this is right.

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacZ View Post
    If the above sentences can prove that "out there" can be used as a post modifier, then why can't it be used this way in a "THERE BE" structure?
    I'm not an expert on this, and I don't want to give you an inaccurate answer, but I'll tell you how I analyse this personally.

    I don't see that out there attributively modifies a whale in any way. The phrase tells us something about the location of the whale's existence. That is, out there goes with there is, and not with a shark. If you reformulate the sentence as follows, it's easier to see:

    Out there is a whale for us.

    I don't know if that helps. I suggest you wait for PaulMatthews to respond more fully/accurately to this question.

  3. IsaacZ's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Thanks for answering, but I am still confused why "out there" with THERE BE structure must be understood as an adverbial of place but not a post modifier.

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacZ View Post
    I am still confused why "out there" with THERE BE structure must be understood as an adverbial of place but not a post modifier.
    Because that's what it invariably means. Existential 'there be' utterances have a sense of existence. The adverbial gives locative information about that existence. Where is the whale? It's somewhere out there.

  5. IsaacZ's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Because that's what it invariably means. Existential 'there be' utterances have a sense of existence. The adverbial gives locative information about that existence. Where is the whale? It's somewhere out there.
    Thanks for your explanation. So can I understand it this way? -

    "out there" CAN be used as a post modifier sometimes, but when it comes to a "there be" sentence, it must be seen as an adverbial of place. It is the "there be" structure that determines the function of this phrase.

    I am open to opinions from other native speakers of English.
    Last edited by IsaacZ; 29-Feb-2020 at 16:53.

  6. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacZ View Post
    So can I understand it this way? -

    "out there" CAN be used as a post modifier sometimes, but when it comes to a "there be" sentence, it must be seen as an adverbial of place. It is the "there be" structure that determines the function of this phrase.
    I think so, but I'm reluctant to say that that's always the case.

    I am open to opinions from other native speakers of English.
    Me too.

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    #7

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacZ View Post
    I’m a teacher of English from China and I am teaching my students how to diagram a sentence using certain lines and marks.

    NOT A TEACHER



    1. Are you by chance using the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system? Before World War II, American high school students were often taught this method of parsing a sentence. Today, however, it is almost unknown to American teachers. If they use diagramming at all, they prefer the tree diagrams that are taught in university linguistics classes.

    a. I am so glad to hear that you are having your students diagram sentences. I think that it's an excellent way to improve one's understanding of English grammar. Most teachers here in the United States, however, disagree.

    2. I found a sentence in one of my favorite books that may interest you: "There were twenty persons there (in the room)."

    a. The first "there," according to the book, is an expletive. That is, it is an adverb that serves as "a warning that the normal order of the subject and predicate is to be reversed."

    i. Thus, in a Reed and Kellogg diagram, the sentence would be analyzed as "Twenty persons were [existed] there (in the room)." "There" is "a pure adverb denoting place."

    ii. The expletive "there" would be placed on its own separate line.


    Source: Homer C. House and Susan Emolyn Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950), page 169.
    Last edited by TheParser; 02-Mar-2020 at 13:11.

  8. probus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    In current colloquial parlance

    "There is an idea out there that ..." is commonly used to say that a certain idea (or feeling) exists in people's minds.

  9. IsaacZ's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER

    Are you by chance using the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system? Before World War II, American high school students were often taught this method of parsing a sentence. Today, however, it is almost unknown to American teachers. If they use diagramming at all, they prefer the tree diagrams that are taught in university linguistics classes.
    Actually, I haven't heard of the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system before, and I don't think I will bother to tree diagram it either, with so many symbols to write.

    I am using a very simple marking system mostly borrowed from Chinese sentence analysis. We used to use it a lot to understand Chinese sentences, but Recently I haven't seen other people applying the same way to sentence analysis. Below is an example sentence showing how it works.


    I don't know whether it can be called some kind of diagramming, with only such simple lines under and marks inserted instead of a tree growing from it, but it helps me to quickly divide a sentence into parts to better understand it.

    I'm sorry to say that your answer focused on the first 'there' at the beginning of the sentence, but my question goes with the 'out there' in the middle, so I'm still waiting for a thorough explanation about why 'out there' can't be seen as a post modifier in a 'there be' structure, especially closely followed by the post modifier 'for you'.
    Last edited by IsaacZ; 03-Mar-2020 at 19:21.

  10. IsaacZ's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    In current colloquial parlance

    "There is an idea out there that ..." is commonly used to say that a certain idea (or feeling) exists in people's minds.
    Thanks. I am totally OK with 'out there' being an adverbial when it is followed by nothing, but when the phrase is followed by the post modifier 'for you', I have a feeling that they are together as a whole, making me prefer to see it as part of the post modifier. I just need a clear judgement of its usage from an expert. At the same time, I am glad to hear any opinions from other native speakers.

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