English grammar THERE and IT
Here is a simple breakdown of the English grammar for THERE and IT.
|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.|
|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
Read below for a more detailed explanation. AND you will find a video version of this post at the bottom of this page. Use it to refresh the grammar and improve your English listening skills.
In everyday English, we use the adverb there with the verb to be to say that something exists. (there is, are, was, etc.)
- 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.
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
“There are 3 cars on the road outside.”
Here we are talking about the fact that 3 cars are (they exist) on the road. 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 sometimes means in, at or to a place.
- Mike said that he saw you there at lunchtime. = 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.
Do you like Starbucks? I go there sometimes.
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 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?
Ask some questions using this new grammar. You can follow these examples.
Orange juice – the fridge
– “Is there some orange juice in the fridge?”
Cold – yesterday
– Was it cold yesterday?
- Rain – tomorrow
- Distance (far) – here to the supermarket
- Bookstore – nearby
Write your answers in the comment box at the bottom of this post. (Where it says “Leave a Reply”)
For more practice tips check out my ESL Grammar Connection method HERE!
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