What is meant by THERE. Like in this sentence, "There are certain limitations of sole trader." What does 'there' mean in this sentence?

meaning edited Mar 20 at 08:05 Cuti New member

2 answers


We can "translate" there is/there are as meaning exists/exist. The word "there" doesn't really mean anything in the sentence. It is what we call a dummy subject. It starts the sentence like subjects usually do. But it is not the subject of the sentence at all. We also call "there" an expletive in grammar (not to be confused with "expletive," which means a very bad, indecent word like a curse word). The expletive/dummy subject is really unrelative to the subject and verb in the sentence, which is usually shown when we diagram a sentence by "floating" the word "there" over the actual subject of the sentence with a line under it. 


As I began the explanation by saying that we can think of "there is" to mean exists, it is in that combination that we have that meaning. "There" occurs with other verbs:


There has come a time for apologizing.


"There" holds a subject position though it is not a subject. This supports the importance of subjects in English. Languages like Spanish that have a lot of grammatical information on their verbs don't require subjects all the time. Once the subject is understood, it doesn't have to be stated over and over. English, on the other hand, has very little grammatical information on the verbs, which is why the verb system is so easy in English. English has lost most inflections over the years. The price we pay for that is that we are obligated to state the subject in all cases except imperatives, which are very here and now, by which I mean commands are given in real time directly to the one who is being "ordered" to do something. There is little room for confusion. When you consider that the word "have" could occur with I, you, or any plural (we, they, etc.), you realize that it is vital that the subject in English be stated. I think that we are so accustomed to mandatory subjects that we put dummy subjects where no grammatical subject easily fits.

link comment edited Mar 20 at 08:39 Glenda Diamond-Ramirez Expert

"There are certain limitations of sole trader." What does 'there' mean in this sentence?


The word 'there' would relate to those 'certain limitations' which, in this sentence, are currently unknown or unexplained. So in essence it is a 'catch-all' phase which refers to those 'certain limitations.' 


I would hope or assume that those 'certain limitations of sole trader' are explained directly after this sentence.


I hope that this is helpful along with Glenda's excellent answer.


- 'ding'

link comment answered Mar 20 at 10:31 Karen OKeefe Contributor

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