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    #1

    Can you tell me what function do there was

    In what situation, we use there is(was) or there are(were) at the beginning of the sentence.
    There was a dog that came by the alley with the cats. All the cats were afraid.
    A dog came by the alley with the cats. All the cats were afraid.
    Can you tell me what function do there was in the beginning of first example has.
    And tell me what difference between the two sentence in respect of emphasis..

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    #2

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    Notatall,

    When a speaker/writer puts there was/were at the beginning of a sentences, it's usually to delay the introduction of the true subject. Below, in [1], the true subject is a dog:

    [1] There was a dog that came by the alley with the cats. All the cats were afraid.

    The reason people add there was/were is to take emphasis off the true subject. In other words, it's a way of taking focus off the subject/actor:

    Less direct: There were John and Mary, and Frank and Sue at the dinner tonight.

    Direct: John and Mary, and Frank and Sue were at the dinner tonight.



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    #3

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    [quote=Soup;282181]Notatall,

    When a speaker/writer puts there was/were at the beginning of a sentences, it's usually to delay the introduction of the true subject. Below, in [1], the true subject is a dog:

    [1] There was a dog that came by the alley with the cats. All the cats were afraid.

    The reason people add there was/were is to take emphasis off the true subject. In other words, it's a way of taking focus off the subject/actor:

    Less direct: There were John and Mary, and Frank and Sue at the dinner tonight.

    Direct: John and Mary, and Frank and Sue were at the dinner tonight.

    [/quot
    Thank you, Soup
    What kind of soup do you like best?
    Further question are: In what situation, the writers want or need to take emphasis of the true subject? what do they want to put the emphasis on?
    Don't you think Direct way to say is more simple?
    Thank you again


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    #4

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Notatall,

    When a speaker/writer puts there was/were at the beginning of a sentences, it's usually to delay the introduction of the true subject. Below, in [1], the true subject is a dog:

    [1] There was a dog that came by the alley with the cats. All the cats were afraid.

    The reason people add there was/were is to take emphasis off the true subject. In other words, it's a way of taking focus off the subject/actor:

    I agree with you when you say that there is / there was is a way to delay the introduction of the subject; but I don't quite agree with the reason you give. Actually I think that we use the existential structure there is/was to delay the introduction of a new subject not yet mentioned in the previous context. The use of the there is/was prepares the reader / listener for this new subject. One might compare it to the yellow light in a set of traffic lights: watch out, things are changing.


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    #5

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    I agree with you when you say that there is / there was is a way to delay the introduction of the subject; but I don't quite agree with the reason you give. Actually I think that we use the existential structure there is/was to delay the introduction of a new subject not yet mentioned in the previous context. The use of the there is/was prepares the reader / listener for this new subject. One might compare it to the yellow light in a set of traffic lights: watch out, things are changing.
    good comparasion(traffic light)
    thank you

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    #6

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    I agree. It was a good answer.


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    #7

    Re: Can you tell me what function do there was

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    I agree. It was a good answer.
    Thank you both, Notatall and Soup, for the nice compliment!

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