I know that 'there' in the beginning of a sentence is called dummy subject but can it also be used somewhere else in the sentence? I came across this sentence "As the reports confirm that armed Taliban were there in the area, we strongly condemn the use of civilians and their homes as shields by the Taliban, as well as we do not accept the conduct of any airstrike on residential areas under any name and for any purpose whatsoever," Mr. Karzai said.

I want to know what purpose there serves in this sentence. Can I rewrite it as the following ,'As the reports confirm that armed Taliban were  in the area...' ? I am eagerly waiting for your answer.

  • 2
    It means present in this context: They were present in the area. (And yes, you can also say just "They were in the area", but there is a difference of connotation.)
    – Drew
    Dec 13, 2017 at 22:30
  • Would it mean the same thing if they wrote 'The reports confirm that there were armed Taliban in the area...
    – user271640
    Dec 16, 2017 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


Were there in the area - the Taliban were actually present in the specified location.

Were in the area - the Taliban were around the general area specified. This means they could have been in the specific area - as they were 'around' - but that we do not specifically know that.


Were there in the area - truth is, they were there in the specified area. Were around the area - hearsay - they might have been in the specified area, but we don't know that for sure

Hope that helps! 😊


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