In the sentence,

There is a full moon in the sky.

... will the sky be treated as the object in the sentence?

  • What happens if we reverse the phrase order? In the sky there is a full moon. – TRomano Jun 27 '15 at 10:39
  • The rule is called There-Insertion, btw. And there are no objects; what the subject is depends on how you define "subject"; there passes some tests, and moon passes others. – John Lawler Jun 27 '15 at 13:32

"Sky" is the object of the preposition "in." There is no direct object in the sentence. The verb "to be" is copulative and doesn't take objects. "Moon" is the subject.

  • "Moon" is the subject. <== Could you please explain to us, via your answer post, how that can be? . . . The reason that I'm asking is that if I use subject-aux inversion to create a question from the OP's example, I can get: "Is there a full moon in the sky?" Since the word "there" inverted with the auxiliary verb "is", wouldn't that mean that the word "there" is the subject? – F.E. Jun 28 '15 at 3:13
  • "There" is an adverb. – deadrat Jun 28 '15 at 3:50

The sentence type "There is + noun/ There are + noun plural" contains no object. "There is a man at the door" is the same as "A man is at the door". There are various views about the sentence parts "there" and "man". Some say "there" is an adverb and "man" the subject with a special position, some say "there" is the subject. Actually such questions are of minor importance as the sentence structure is simple and clear: There is someone/something somewhere. In any case "man" is a nominative and can't be an object.

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