What are some different ways of stating existence in a sentence (does not necessarily have to be one/short clause) other than clichés such as there is/are, there exists ...

How may these sentence parts be rephrased?

There is too much debate about...

There are various views of...

It is believed that...

Is it possible to not use the verb to be?

  • 2
    Debate on this topic exceeds my tolerance level. Views about the candidate differ. Heinleinians believe in space travel. Turn your predicate nominative into an active subject.
    – bib
    Oct 19, 2015 at 17:02
  • 1
    There are potentially hundreds of ways of indicating existence, especially if you do so implicitly. Example: Instead of saying, "Bacon was in the pan, sizzling noisily" we can say, "Bacon sizzled noisily in the pan." Oct 19, 2015 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


First, let me say that I think it would be easier to make suggestions if we had the entire sentence, because these sorts of suggestions are generally not "one size fits all." Also, if the sentences are short, changing them is much more difficult. For example:

There is too much debate about vaccines.

The only way to change that without adding information would be something like:

Too much debate about vaccines exists.

or maybe:

Vaccines are the subject of too much debate.

But that's not necessarily a better sentence than the original. Moving on to the next example, let's complete the sentence:

There are various views of the state of politics today.

One way to edit this is to provide a clear subject:

People have various views of the state of politics today.

The same is true for the next example:

It is believed that...

Provide a clear subject:

People believe that...

Some sentences can be changed to the passive voice (if your style allows for that):

There are many ways to represent functions.


Functions can be represented in many ways.

Considering that the first sentence doesn't have a clear subject, the change to the passive voice may not be such a bad thing.

Unfortunately, I don't have any references to back me up. My answers are based on 20+ years' experience as a copyeditor.


It depends on the context and subject matter.

One strategy is to make the declarations implicit. Instead of saying that there is debate or disagreement, assume or demonstrate it. For example, rather than explicitly declare that there are various views, debates, and controversies surrounding Canadian political parties:

"There is a lot of debate surrounding the major political parties in Canada. Some believe that only the Liberal, Conservative, and New Democrat parties represent political forces. Others argue that we should also include the Parti Québécois and Green Party."

instead, you could combine these statements and draw on various synonymous and forms of the verbs to be, to exist, and to have to demonstrate the disagreements:

"Although there is consensus that the Liberal, Conservative, and New Democrat parties constitute the dominant political forces of Canadian politics, many argue that the influence of the Green Party and the Partie Québécois should not be underestimated."

"Although alternatives exist (most notably the Green Party and the Parti Québécois), the Canadian political landscape is dominated by the presence of the Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats."

"Although some Canadians claim that the country has only three major political parties, others include the Green Party and the Parti Québécois."


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