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23. There and it


1 There + be

Look at these examples.
I really ought to phone home. - Well, there's a phone box round the corner.
Could I make myself an omelette? - Of course. There are some eggs in the fridge.
There's an important meeting at work that I have to go to.

To talk about the existence of something, we use there + be. Be agrees with the following noun.
There is a phone box. BUT There are some eggs.

Here are some more examples.
There's a bus at ten to five.
There'll be a meal waiting for us.
Is there a toilet in the building?
Were there any bargains in the sale?
There have been some burglaries recently.
There might have been an accident.

We also use there with words like a lot of, many, much, more, enough and with numbers.
There were a lot of problems to discuss.
There's too much noise in here.
Will there be enough chairs?
There are thirty days in April.

2 Uses of it

We use it for a thing, an action, a situation or an idea.
You've bought a new coat. It's very nice. (it = the coat)
Skiing is an expensive hobby, isn't it?
You have to fill in all these stupid forms. It's ridiculous.
I find astrology fascinating. I'm really in terested in it.

We use it to mean 'the unknown person'.
Did someone ring? - It was Vicky. She just called to say she's arrived safely.

We use it for the time, the weather and distance.
It's half past five already.
It's Sunday tomorrow.
It was much warmer yesterday.
It's fifty miles from here to Brighton.

We also use it in structures with a to-infinitive or a that-clause.
It was nice to meet your friends.
It would be a good idea to book in advance.
It's important to switch off the electricity.
It's a pity (that) you can't come with us.
This is much more usual than, for example, To meet your friends was nice.

3 There or it?

We often use there when we mention something for the first time, like the picture in this example.
There was a picture on the wall. It was an abstract painting.
We use it when we talk about the details. It means the picture.

Here are some more examples.
There's a woman at the door. - Oh, it's Aunt loan.
There was a dog in the field. It was a big black one.
There's a new one-way traffic system in the town centre. It's very confusing.

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