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I almost never see "there is/are" used with personal pronouns. Why do they not get along with each other?

1 There is me in this house. 2 There are them in this town.

I think they are wrong. But why?

However, I can give one example:

Thus, when Christ promises that "where two or three are gathered in His name, there is He in the midst of them,"

IS it the case of "there is +personal pronoun" or is it something different?

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    Good question. First, the Bible quotation is from a translation, which isn't in Modern English, so it doesn't count. Modern English doesn't do that any more. Second, there is always inserted by a rule (called There-Insertion), and that rule has difficulty applying to personal pronouns because it presupposes existence and location, which is hardly an issue when saying I or they. In other words, there's no reason to use it when the subject already presupposes existence; it's irrelevant and therefore has marginal syntactic affordances. Oct 6, 2019 at 18:40
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    'There is me in this house' would most likely be an answer to a question, 'Is there anyone in this house?'
    – user353675
    Oct 6, 2019 at 18:47
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    If you add just or only after is or are it would be much more natural. (There is just me in the house. There are only them in the town.) As such, this isn't a matter of grammar per se but a simple fact of arbitrary use. Oct 7, 2019 at 2:25
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    @user47014 It could also be used when referring to a picture containing the speaker in the house.
    – Barmar
    Oct 8, 2019 at 0:00
  • Do you think "There is me on the floor" is OK, if I am describing myself in a picture?
    – user1425
    Jan 22, 2020 at 18:13

2 Answers 2

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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

Good question. First, the Bible quotation is from a translation, which isn't in Modern English, so it doesn't count. Modern English doesn't do that any more. Second, there is always inserted by a rule (called There-Insertion), and that rule has difficulty applying to personal pronouns because it presupposes existence and location, which is hardly an issue when saying I or they. In other words, there's no reason to use it when the subject already presupposes existence; it's irrelevant and therefore has marginal syntactic affordances.

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  • Marginal syntactic affordances is the name of the game. Jul 25, 2021 at 15:07
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Matthew 18:20

KJV For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

NRS For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

In the biblical expression used here, whether it contains an inversion (KJV - Early Modern English) or not (NRS - Modern English), there is used as an adverb and not as a dummy subject, as it is the case in your example, There is me in this house (which, I agree, is unusual and may be possible in very particular contexts as indicated in the comments).

I don't speak Hebrew, but the Greek version of this expression [ἐκεῖ εἰμι - there am] confirms that there means in that place and functions as an adjunct of place. It is emphatic, the sentence could stand without it:

I am among them (NRS)

But in the KJV version, the omission of there will no longer require an inversion:

I am in the midst of them (KJV)

As for the use of there is/are with a personal pronoun, it is indeed rare, but not completely non-existent. A wild-card chart in GNgram shows you

  1. that the use of there is me has recently seen a mild increase.
  2. that often another word (preposition or adverb) will come between there is and the personal pronoun.

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You can find it in literature, as a way of introducing a character:

There is me, and own God-Master. There is Slippers, and Slippers's Own God-Missus. That is all my paws. There is Adar. There is Cookey. (The Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling)

And you could probably use this expression while describing a photo or a video. This following excerpt seems to be describing a scene in a vivid way:

But no, instead there is a mere bishop, there is the king, there is me in a bewitching gown of gray-green silk that shifts colors as I move... (The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory, Page 317).

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