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I have learned the following sentence is grammatically correct because it is possible to omit the nominative relative pronoun in a sentence like "there is ...". I'm not sure if it is natural or not in real, however. I would like to ask three questions about it.

There's somebody wants to see you.

Q1. Is the sentence natural? Why?

Q2. Does the inclusion of the relative "who" make a difference in nuance? If so, what is the difference?

Q3. Is it possible to use "there is" instead of the contraction form, "there's" in the sentence? Why?

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    You could either say "somebody wants to see you" or "there is/there's (no difference) somebody who wants to see you". The option you provided is not correct or idiomatic (in any dialect I've heard)
    – Esther
    Jun 14 at 15:46
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    Consensus seems to be that it's mainly dialectal or informal forum.thefreedictionary.com/… usingenglish.com/forum/threads/… I can find similar examples from London c. 1950s and New York State c. 1900. I can't find anything authoritative though.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 14 at 16:03
  • It's not correct and yet is still acceptable in New York. It implies you will want to meet. Were the gatekeeper less charmed by that somebody, you'd hear Guy to see ya. You don't have time, do ya? Jun 14 at 16:13
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    @Esther: Where are you based? It's perfectly natural in relaxed British conversational contexts to omit the relativiser (who or that) in the cited context. And I'm far from convinced any professional linguists would say that it's "ungrammatical" to do so, even if some pedantic grammarians might think there's something wrong with it. So far as I'm concerned, the only grammatical "rule" involved here is the one saying [that] such relativisers (especially, that) are always "optional, discardable". Jun 14 at 16:40
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    @FumbleFingers Yes, I think you’re right. And there’s definitely a cline of acceptability there. Jun 15 at 12:40

6 Answers 6

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This isn’t correct in written English and I believe it’d be considered a mistake here on the West Coast of the United States, although it shouldn’t be a big deal to misspeak one word in a sentence, occasionally. I’m used to filling in a missing word due to background noise or a poor telephone connection.

The following all sound more natural to me:

  • There’s somebody here to see you
  • There’s somebody here who wants to see you
  • There’s somebody here that wants to see you

There is would also be possible, but to my ear, makes the register of the sentence clash. It starts out too formally to get that casual about the relative pronoun later on.

I believe it’s more common in some other dialects, but I’ll let people from those places speak to that..

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  • Another possibility is just "Somebody wants to see you". Grammatically, the most straightforward. May need a verbal prefix like "Er" or a visual gesture, to avoid seeming abrupt.
    – nigel222
    Jun 15 at 8:48
  • @nigel222 Come to think of it, “Nigel, somebody’s here to see you!” would work well too, or “Somebody here to see you!” in casual speech.
    – Davislor
    Jun 15 at 21:08
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It doesn't look as though anyone has addressed your third question yet, so I'll give it a shot.

Omitting the relative pronoun "who" would be unusual in formal speech. (As you can see from other answers and comments, many people consider it incorrect.) Therefore, this sentence is likely to be interpreted as casual / slang / colloquial. For that reason, the contracted form "there's" works well here. However, writing out "there is" would certainly be grammatical and might even be useful in some contexts (for example, if you wanted to place stress on "is").

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  • Exactly. It's not what you'd want in the minutes of the meeting. But nobody reads minutes anyway. Jun 14 at 23:22
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According to this reference "who" should not be omitted in this sentence.

(PristineWord) Look at this sentence.

  • Correct The waiter who served us yesterday was rude.

The subject of the relative clause is who (the waiter), so we cannot leave out the relative pronoun. However, we can omit it in another way (see step 2).

  • incorrect The waiter served us yesterday was rude.

2 When the relative pronoun is the subject, we can omit that, who, or which in two basic ways:

If that, who, or which is followed by the verb "be" (in any form), both elements can be omitted.

  • Correct The keys that are on the table are mine.

  • Correct The keys on the table are mine.

If that, who, or which is followed by a verb, both elements (pronoun and verb) can be changed into "-ing" form of the verb.

  • Correct People who follow healthy diets tend to live longer.

  • Correct People following healthy diets tend to live longer.

You could say this.

  • There is somebody wanting to see you.

In formal writing, always use "there is".

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    That looks like a resource for English learners, which reduce everything to "standard English" and never cover dialectical forms (which the example seems to be, judging from the comments).
    – Laurel
    Jun 14 at 18:12
  • @Laurel I conceive it rather as aimed at users of English—I am myself one still in need to resort to rules and compendiums of usage—, not desirous to allow their speech to be identified to any particular dialect nor to a strictly informal type of English, but instead, concerned with preserving a standard not likely to deviate much from what is generally accepted.
    – LPH
    Jun 14 at 18:37
  • @Lambie 1/ Yes, "in need of resorting to" : idiomatic now . 2/ No, "not willing to" (books.google.com/ngrams/…) 3/ Yes, "with" is idiomatic, "to" is not, apparently. 4/ No, I mean "preserve", not "follow" (people concerned with preserving a standard for themselves and not spreading any standards). Thank you very much for your time and what is pertinent in your editing.
    – LPH
    Jun 14 at 19:32
  • "There is somebody wanting to see you" is correct in Indian English, but sounds very strange to British English speakers (and I've never heard that form in American English either). Jun 15 at 9:14
  • @JackAidley It seems that "someone wanting to see you" is quite acceptable; see for yourself : google.com/… . Yet, if you replaced "somebody" by "someone" the construction would not be valid any more. That seems rather strange to me. What do you think?
    – LPH
    Jun 15 at 10:08
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In British English, we would normally include the 'who', as in:

There's somebody who wants to see you

You would still be easily understood if it were omitted. I think it would depend on the individual (British) listener whether it made the sentence sound 'odd' to them. To my ear "There's somebody wants to see you" would sound American.

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    And to an American ear like mine, "There's somebody wants to see you" would sound like something out of a TV show set in rural England.
    – Spencer
    Jun 15 at 14:11
  • @Spencer - To my N BrE [metropolitan] ear it sounds absolutely fine as colloquial speech. Sure, there's a missing word, but it's still a perfectly natural omission.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 15 at 17:54
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  • There's somebody wants to see you.

is perfectly normal spoken English. One might add /t/ at the end of somebody to show a deleted that, or one might use an extra vowel there to show a deleted who. Or one might make an inaudible tongue gesture in either direction, and feel satisfied they'd pronounced the requisite pronoun.

Of course, English writing doesn't allow us the benefit of merely transcribing the language as it's spoken. Unless we dare the slings and arrows of outrageous peeving, we must pretend that we talk different. How you want to pretend is up to you.

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    Right-o. And for me, there are basically two grammar codes, one spoken and another written.
    – Lambie
    Jun 14 at 18:58
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    One might add--to deter peevers who think we should speak English like people did in Shakespeare's day--that this used to be the most frequent way of reducing relative clauses altogether (to omit the that/which/who when it was the subject) in Shakespeare's day. And he did it all the time. In contrast, omitting the relative word when it represented a missing object, as is normal nowadays, was relatively rare. [See here, for example.] Jun 14 at 20:11
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    There is no standard speed for speech. Everybody has their own set of rates, and they use them differently in different contexts. We all know people that talk slow and we all know people that talk fast. It's no use pretending there is a proper form of speech that emerges at one velocity and no faster or slower. Jun 14 at 23:21
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    "There's somebody wants to see you is perfectly normal spoken English". Which "spoken English" are we talking about? Where? I have absolutely never heard this in my entire existence. Jun 15 at 7:57
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    I have also never heard any native English say "there's somebody wants to see you". People say "Somebody wants to see you" or "There's somebody here to see you". It's the kind of mistake I'd expect from a semi-fluent non-native speaker. Jun 15 at 9:12
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I'm not an English major or teacher of any kind, but it was my strongest subject, and the statement you're asking about sounds absolutely wrong. That doesn't mean it's grammatically incorrect, but I would be shocked if it wasn't. The "there's" should be dropped from the statement altogether as it's unnecessary, gratuitous, and, as I mentioned, sounds 100% grammatically incorrect.

Then again, we added "ain't" as a contraction to the dictionary, sooo... what do I know? LOL I think Pink Floyd said it best...

"We don't need no education!"

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