Would you possibly readily elaborate the reason why you do not say

A book is there on the table.

instead of

There is a book on the table.


  • The first phrasing is a little weird. Usually you'll hear "The book is on the table" which describes the position of the book, as opposed to "There is a book on the table" which describes the state of the table. – SF. Feb 11 '14 at 8:00
  • Both sentences are fine. The second sentence would usually be interpreted as being in the form of an existential construction (with the dummy pronoun "there") -- that is, having the meaning A book exists on the table. If you want an explanation of the various grammatical parsings and semantic interpretations possible for those two sentences, then ask and maybe people will provide one. :) – F.E. Feb 11 '14 at 8:31

Actually, no, I wouldn't, because there is no reason why I could not say "a book is there on the table".

However, the two sentences have a different meaning.

A book is there on the table.

Although this example may sound a little bit off, it is not wrong. I could say this when someone asks where a book can be found. It is unlikely that someone asks for "a book" though one would presumably ask for a specific book.

You said you found me a copy of "It", where is it?
It is there, on the table.

(I added a comma here as well :) )

In this case, I could easily replace "there" with "here".

When you say "there is a book on the table", "there" is used generically, without actually pointing at the location. The same thing is true in the following sentences:

There is a lot of wind today.
There are many people on the street.
There is a slight chance I might win the lottery.

In these cases I cannot replace "there" with "here" (not without essentially changing the sentence).


Both are grammatical. The first emphasises the location of the book, and would possibly be accompanied by the speaker pointing at it. The second indicates the presence of the book without any particular emphasis.

The choice between the two would depend on the context, and intonation would reinforce the meaning. In practice, it is unlikely that a native speaker would say either quite in the way shown. They sound like sentences used in a text book to illustrate a particular construction.

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