English grammar THERE and IT (sound like a native!)

Everyday English – There and It

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
English grammar - There and It

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” Pt.2

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” Pt.2

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?

Practice TIME!

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?
Try these:

  • 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”)

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