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
“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
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