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E.g., in the sentence:

There is no alternative.

Wikipedia says:

The word there is used as a pronoun in some sentences, playing the role of a dummy subject, normally of an intransitive verb. The "logical subject" of the verb then appears as a complement after the verb.

Can somebody please elaborate on the above sentence, possibly with examples?

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closed as general reference by Noah, F'x, Armen Ծիրունյան, Matt E. Эллен, tchrist Nov 5 '12 at 12:09

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Sorry, but this is a general reference. –  Noah Nov 5 '12 at 8:37
While this question is probably too basic for this site, I think it would be a good fit for the proposed English Language Learners site in Area 51. If you visited there and "committed" to that proposal, you'd help make that site a reality. –  J.R. Nov 5 '12 at 9:22

1 Answer 1

There is X is equivalent of X exists. (with negations too).

  • There is no alternative.
  • No alternative exists.

There are other usages though. There [verb]s X would mean And so, ... *Look as...* .

  • There goes my thousand bucks worth of glassware
  • And so my expensive glassware is destroyed.

Standalone "There." comes as a confirmation of completing some implicit action.

  • -- Could you delete these files?
  • -- There. (or Done. or Deleted.)

It also appears in this context in an idiom "There you are."

I probably missed a few other usages but you should get the general idea, that "there" outside of pointing a location can be a generic filler.

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