[Grammar] why we need dummy subjects and its usage?

Nanu1

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1. There is a book on the table -- existential clause
2. A book is on the table -- basic version
3. A book is there -- (there= on the table, adverb of place)

An existential clause is a clause that refers to the existence or presence of something. If something exists in some place then we use adverbs of place. So adverbs can fulfill the use of existence or presence of something. Then why we need dummy subjects and its usage?

4. A book is there ~ There is a book.

If we point out that thing (here "the book") and tell that " There is a book", here "there" is not used as dummy subject but it is an adverb. The normal word order in positive sentence is “A book is there” (subject-verb-other components) but here “adverb-verb-subject”. Can we use this order? And which order is the best to use and why?
 

Nanu1

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'In English, the word "there" can be used as a pronoun, functioning as a dummy subject.'—quoted from http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/grammar-lesson-dummy-there.php

1. a) There is hope.
b) There are some students. Here "there" is dummy subject and it has no meaning.
2. a) Hope is there.
b) Some students are there. Here "there" is adverb of place so it has adverbial meaning.

Here is my question. If something exists in some place then we use adverbs of place. So adverbs can fulfill the use of existence or presence of something. Then why we need dummy subjects and its usage?
 

Tdol

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Some languages use dummy subjects and others don't. A dummy subject may have no meaning but it fulfils a grammatical requirement of languages like English.
 

Nanu1

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There is often no clear answer to the question Why? ​about any aspect of language.

Is it mandatory to use dummy subjects in sentences? could we use normal structures in place of dummy subjects?
 

Nanu1

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Some languages use dummy subjects and others don't. A dummy subject may have no meaning but it fulfils a grammatical requirement of languages like English.

Here is my question. If something exists in some place then we use adverbs of place. So adverbs can fulfill the use of existence or presence of something. could we use normal structures in place of dummy subjects?
 

Nanu1

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At what situations can we use dummy subjects or dummy subjects are mandatory? or optional?
 
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teechar

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[STRIKE]At[/STRIKE] In what situations can we use dummy subjects, [STRIKE]or[/STRIKE] and are dummy subjects [STRIKE]are[/STRIKE] mandatory or optional in such situations?
.
 

Matthew Wai

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There are situations where a dummy subject should be used.

I think the dummy subject above is obligatory.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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. . . A book is there ~ There is a book.

If we point out that thing (here "the book") and tell that " There is a book", here "there" is not used as dummy subject but it is an adverb. The normal word order in positive sentence is “A book is there” (subject-verb-other components) but here “adverb-verb-subject”. Can we use this order? And which order is the best to use and why?

Both are fine, but they have slightly different meanings.

- Is the table cleared?
- Not yet. A book is there.

- Where can we get instructions for repairing the Saab?
- There is a book.

I'm not a grammarian, but in "A book is there," the "there" looks more like a pronoun to me: "there" = "the table."
 

emsr2d2

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Note that your title should have been "Why do we need dummy subjects and can you explain their​ usage?"
 

Tdol

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If something exists in some place then we use adverbs of place.

Do we always do that?
So adverbs can fulfill the use of existence or presence of something. could we use normal structures in place of dummy subjects?

Dummy subjects are normal in languages that use them.
 

Matthew Wai

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If something exists in some place then we use adverbs of place.
The following example has nothing to do with a place.
'There are times when I cannot make myself understood in English.'
 

Tdol

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And how would you suggest we say it is raining/rains? Many languages don't use a subject for this. It is fine to regard those languages as more efficient, but if you're speaking a language that uses a subject, my advice would be to use a subject.
 
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