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  1. #1
    Barman is offline Member
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    Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    I have learnt that "Adverbial Adjuncts" are adverbs or equivalent to adverbs. The words, phrases or clauses which show how, when, why, where an action is performed, are adverbial adjuncts.

    Please consider the following sentences.

    1) There is a man here.

    2) There was once a king in India, named Dasaratha.

    In the sentences above, the first "There" has entirely lost its force as an adverb of place, and is used only to introduce the sentence.

    Therefore, can I analyse it as an "adverbial adjunct" or treat it as "introductory"?

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    Piscean is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    I have seen it called a syntactic expletive, dummy pronoun, place keeper, and probably a few other things as well.

    Whatever term you use, somebody will tell you it's incorrect.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I have seen it called a syntactic expletive, dummy pronoun, place keeper, and probably a few other things as well.

    Whatever term you use, somebody will tell you it's incorrect.
    They'd be wrong, though.
    I am not a teacher.

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    Barman is offline Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I have seen it called a syntactic expletive, dummy pronoun, place keeper, and probably a few other things as well.

    Whatever term you use, somebody will tell you it's incorrect.
    Then, how can I define it?

  5. #5
    PaulMatthews is offline Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by Barman View Post
    Then, how can I define it?
    There is a man here.

    This an existentlal clause, where "there" is best analysed as a dummy pronoun serving the syntactic purpose of filling the subject position. "A man" is then analysed as a 'displaced subject', a complement of the verb, but not the syntactic subject of the clause.

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    Piscean is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    There is a man here.

    This an existentlal clause, where "there" is best analysed as a dummy pronoun serving the syntactic purpose of filling the subject position. "A man" is then analysed as a 'displaced subject', a complement of the verb, but not the syntactic subject of the clause.
    That makes sense, but how do you explain There are some men here? The plural form 'are' seems to suggest that the subject of the verb, and therefore presumably of the sentence, is 'some men'.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    PaulMatthews is offline Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    There is a man here.
    There are some men here.

    Existential "there" has no inherent number but takes on the number of the displaced subject. It’s comparable to the relative pronouns "which" and "who", which take on the number of their antecedent (the guy who was talking vs the guys who were talking).

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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    Existential "there" has no inherent number but takes on the number of the displaced subject.
    Displaced? Are you not just talking about the semantic subject, as opposed to the grammatical one?

    It’s comparable to the relative pronouns "which" and "who", which take on the number of their antecedent (the guy who was talking vs the guys who were talking).
    Right—they agree with the singularity/plurality of their semantic co-referent—i.e., the semantic subject.

  9. #9
    Phaedrus's Avatar
    Phaedrus is online now Senior Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Displaced?
    In classical transformational grammar, which I don't believe PaulMatthews adheres to, "displaced" actually makes a lot of sense.

    Traditionally, a sentence like "There is a man here" was said to derive from "A man is here" via the transformation There-Insertion.

    In other words, "there" wasn't there in Deep Structure. "A man" was subject. When "there" was inserted, the real subject got "displaced."

    Nowadays, the generative analysis is much, much fancier. Even if I'd studied it enough to explain it (see here), I doubt it'd be useful to learners.

  10. #10
    PaulMatthews is offline Member
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    Re: Advervial Adjuncts/introductory "There"- There is a man here

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Displaced? Are you not just talking about the semantic subject, as opposed to the grammatical one?
    Right—they agree with the singularity/plurality of their semantic co-referent—i.e., the semantic subject.
    Yes: the displaced subject in "There is a man here" corresponds semantically to the subject in "A man is here".

    Incidentally, two simple tests show that "there" is the subject:

    [a] In subject-auxiliary inversion constructions, it occurs after the auxiliary verb, as in "Is there a man here?"

    [b] "There" occurs as subject in interrogative tags, as in "There is a man here, isn't there?" This means that we not only know that "there" is subject, we know it's a pronoun.

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