[Grammar] Dummy subjects

Raju0

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1. There is a place, next to him, sit there.
2. There is the place, next to him, sit there. Here is my doubt. We can use a definite noun phrase with 'there' when there means 'in that place' , but in (1) indefinite article "a" is used. So how can we say "there" is an adverb answering to question "where"?
 

Raju0

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1. There is a place, next to him, sit there.

Omit the first comma. Change the second to a semi-colon or full stop.
The first 'there' is a dummy subject.

Or, if you retain the first comma, while still changing the second, the first 'there' is an adverb.


2. There is the place, next to him, sit there.

Retain the first comma. Change the second to a semi-colon or full stop. The first 'there' is an adverb.

1. There is a place next to him; sit there. or There is a place next to him. Sit there.

2. There is the place, next to him; sit there. or There is the place, next to him. Sit there. Are these ok now?

and I am not understanding what you are saying by this " if you retain the first comma, while still changing the second, the first 'there' is an adverb."?
 

Matthew Wai

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I understand it in the following way:

1.There is a place next to him. Sit there.
= A place is next to him. Sit there.
The underlined 'there' is a dummy subject.

2. There is a place, next to him. Sit there.
= A place is there, next to him. Sit there.
The underlined 'there' is an adverb.
 

Raju0

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I understand it in the following way:

2. There is a place, next to him. Sit there.

I think your 2nd sentence is wrong because of indefinite article(a place). Could you please tell me the difference between 1. There is a place, next to him and 2. There is the place, next to him. ?
 
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Matthew Wai

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'The place' in 2 was previously mentioned, while 'a place' in 1 was not.
 

Matthew Wai

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in (1) indefinite article "a" is used. So how can we say "there" is an adverb answering to question "where"?
It can be an answer to the question 'Where should I sit?'.
 

Raju0

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'The place' in 2 was previously mentioned, while 'a place' in 1 was not.
I know this(definite and indefinite article) and your 2nd example is wrong. You have to use "the" in your 2nd example.
 

Matthew Wai

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Can you explain why it is wrong?
 

Raju0

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Matthew Wai

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We can use a definite noun phrase with 'there' when there means 'in that place'.
'We can use' does not mean the same as 'we can only use'.
 

Raju0

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'We can use' does not mean the same as 'we can only use'.

I have read and heard this in so many English grammar articles about this topic that all tells the same(We can use a definite noun phrase with 'there' when there means 'in that place'.)
 

Matthew Wai

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We can use a definite noun phrase with 'there' when there means 'in that place'.
There's the book I was looking for! (=In that place is the book I was looking for.)
There's a book you might want to read. (= In that place is a book you might want to read.)
An indefinite article is used because 'a book' was not previously mentioned.
 

Raju0

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Will you PLEASE tell us which '2nd sentence' you are referring to.

2. There is a place, next to him. Sit there.
= A place is there, next to him. Sit there.
The underlined 'there' is an adverb.
 

Raju0

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There's a book you might want to read. (= In that place is a book you might want to read.)
An indefinite article is used because 'a book' was not previously mentioned.

I have same in my mind what you have said but someone told me it is incorrect to say an indefinite phrase with an adverb 'there' meaning 'in that place'. So wait someone will answer correctly.
 

Matthew Wai

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Which article should be used depends on the usage of articles but not 'there'.
 

Raju0

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Both of those sentences are grammatically correct.
The second is not very natural; we are far more likely to say the first.

1. There is a place next to him.
2. There is the place next to him.


in (1) 'there' is an dummy subject it means 'a place exists' and in (2) 'there' is adverb it means 'in that place'. Am I right?
 

Raju0

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The second is a very unlikely sentence. We don't normally need to point out a place if we already know that it is next to somebody.
1. There's a book I was looking for.
2.
There's the book I was looking for. Here (2) is a very unlikely sentence?
 

Raju0

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No. It's fine and natural.
1. There's a place I was looking for.
2.
There's the place I was looking for. Are these natural?

in (1) 'there' is an dummy subject it means 'a place exists' and in (2) 'there' is adverb it means 'in that place'. Am I right?
 
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Raju0

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The second is a very unlikely sentence. We don't normally need to point out a place if we already know that it is next to somebody.
You are saying (2) is unnatural but someone said to me that (2) is more likely. Look at the this.

"Yes. Generally speaking, that is true, but now that I've thought about it more, I wouldn't put it so dogmatically. Both sentences have both meanings. Context helps to distinguish one from the other.


Thus, each of those sentences can mean either 'a/the place exists' or 'a/the place is there', depending on how you stress each word with your voice.


There's a place next to him. (existential) < more likely
There's a place next to him. (locative) < less likely


There's the place next to him. (existential) < less likely
There's the place next to him. (locative) < more likely
Those that are locative are likely to be accompanied by a pointing gesture.
And, as we discussed earlier, those that are locative are likely to have a comma (or dash) between 'place' and 'next' when they are written."
 
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