THERE and IT – FREE English lesson (PDF download + Video)

English grammar THERE and IT

I put together a simple breakdown of the English grammar for THERE and IT after several of the high school students I was teaching were confused by this vocabulary. In this English blog post, I will answer all your questions about this grammar.

How to use the adverb THERE

The adverb THERE is used with the verb to be to say that something exists.
There is a new cafe on Main street.” = a new cafe exists on Main st.
There sometimes means in, at, or to a place.
“I went there this morning. The coffee is nice.” = I went to the café.

How to use the pronoun IT

The pronoun IT is used to refer to a specific thing, place, or fact. It is not used to refer to a person or people. 
IT is used as the subject of a sentence that is talking about time, distance, or the weather
IT is used to refer to a situation that is well-known or happening now.

We use the adverb THERE with the verb to be to say that something exists.
There is a big dog outside.”
“Our national team won the soccer tournament last night. There were many people dancing in the stadium.”
The adverb sometimes means in, at, or to a place.
“It was a fun party. There were about 30 people there.
there = at the party
We use the pronoun IT for a specific thing, place, or situation.
“My neighbor’s dog is noisy. It’s always barking.”
It = the dog
“I want to try the new café, but it’s always very busy.”
It = the café
We also use the pronoun IT to talk about time, distance, or the weather.
It‘s going to be windy tomorrow.”
It = the weather
“It‘s about 5:30 now.”
It = the time

Definitions at Oxford Learners’ Dictionaries.
THERE
IT

THERE – More examples

  • There is a big dog outside.
  • The new café on Front St. is very popular. There is a big line at the counter every morning.
  • Our national team won the soccer tournament last night! There were many people dancing in the stadium.

There sometimes means in, at, or to a place.

  • Mike said that he saw you there yesterday. = Mike saw you in the café.
  • I walked by the new café on Front St. yesterday, I saw a lot of people there. = I saw a lot of people at the café.
  • The coffee is really good, I went there yesterday. = I went to the café.
English grammar THERE and IT

Do you like Starbucks? I go there sometimes.

We often use THERE with modal verbs

  • Keep your eyes open, there could be deer walking around the forest. 

  • There might be a few people from my school at the party. 

  • There may be over three hundred people at the party.

  • There must be a faster way to get to the party.

Can Could May Might Must -Your #1 Modal Verb guide (Quiz+PDF)

IT – More examples

We use the pronoun it if we are talking about a specific thing, place, or situation.

  • My neighbor’s dog is noisy. It’s always barking.
    It = the dog
  • I want to try the new café, but it’s always very busy.
    It = the café
  • I didn’t expect Barry to come to the party, so when I saw him it was a nice surprise.
    It = the fact that Barry came to the party
English grammar THERE and IT
It can be used to mean weather, time or distance

It is also used to talk about the weather, time, or distance (to travel somewhere)

  • It was cold yesterday. = The temperature was cold yesterday.
  • The news said it will rain tomorrow.
  • It’s (It has) been a long time since I went to see a movie. = The time from now until the last time I went to see a movie is long.
  • How far is it from your house to your school? = We can answer this kind of question with distance or time.

“How far is it from your house to your school?”
Distance It’s about 3 kilometers.”
Time “It’s about 10 minutes by bicycle.”

It is also used like this.

  • It isn’t good to eat too much chocolate. – This is a natural way to say: If you eat too much chocolate the result is not good.

In these types of sentences, we naturally start with “It.”

  • It isn’t safe to walk alone at night.
  • It’s too bad that your bike got stolen.
  • I finished a 1000-piece puzzle! It only took me 90 minutes!

There or It?

THERE points to the existence of the subject of a sentence.
There is a dog on the corner.”
IT is a pronoun and will be used as the subject of a sentence.
It’s raining now.” *IT is sometimes called a dummy subject – it refers to the weather. We don’t say “The weather is raining.”

Dummy subjects LINK

English grammar - There and It
  • There are 3 cars on the road outside.”
    Here we are talking about the fact that 3 cars are on the road. (they exist) We use THERE in this sentence.
  • “I like the convertible, it’s cool.”
    Now we are talking about a specific car, the convertible. We use IT in this sentence.

THERE and IT with questions

We use a form of the verb TO BE in front of THERE and IT to make a question.

  • Is there a soccer game on TV tonight?
  • Were there many people at the club?
  • Is it safe at night in your hometown?
  • How was the coffee at the new café? Was it good?

THERE and IT Video

Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills!

Practice TIME!

Ask some questions using this new grammar. You can follow these examples.
Orange juicethe fridge
– “Is there some orange juice in the fridge?”
Coldyesterday
– Was it cold yesterday?
Try these:

  • Raintomorrow
  • Distance (how far) – to the supermarket
  • Bookstorenearby

You will find these question example answers in the free PDF download.

THERE and IT guide PDF download

Get your FREE 6-page THERE and IT grammar guide PDF at the button below.

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