As you watch the video, look at the examples of there is, there are and it. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, there is, there are and it correctly.
We often use there + to be and It … as a subject but they do not refer to any object. There is / are is used to introduce a topic, or say that something exists. It … is often used for the weather, time and distance.
Can I have some examples of there is / there are, please?
There's so much happening.
Is there anything much going on at the moment?
There are two new students in our class.
There aren't any good football matches on TV this week.
What about other tenses? Is there is / there are only used in the present?
No, you can change the tense.
There were fire-breathing dragons in the streets.
Were there any accidents?
I think there'll be loads of people at the festival.
There haven't been many entries for the competition.
I'm a bit confused about when to use there is / there are and when to use it or they.
Have a look at these sentences. The topic is introduced with there is / are, then it and they refer back to something already mentioned.
There's a good film on channel 2. It starts at 10 o'clock. (It = the film)
There are two new students in our class. They're from Brazil. (They = the students)
So you can't use it or they as subjects in the first sentences?
No, you can't.
OK, but you can start some sentences with it, can't you? Like, 'It's very hot today.'
Yes. We use it for talking about the weather, time, distance and days and dates.
It's warm and sunny
What time is it? > It's only 6 o'clock
How far is it to the shopping centre? > It's three km to my house from here. It's a long way to walk.
It's Saturday tomorrow, great!
What's the date? It's November 18th.
Phew! That's quite a lot of uses!
Yes, and there's more. We also use it + to be + adjective + infinitive clauses. In these sentences it refers forwards to the infinitive clause.
It's nice to meet you.
It's hard to hear anything with this noise.
Was it easy to understand him?
It'll be difficult to find the venue without a map.
OK, that's enough for one grammar snack. It's time to go.
That's a good it expression!
It's very good of you to say so!
Yes, it really is time to stop now! Bye!
Worksheets and downloads
Mum: Hi, Oliver!
Oliver: Hi, Mum. Are you having a good time? Where are you now?
Mum: Can’t you remember? You have to guess then! I’ll give you some clues! It’s warm and sunny and it’s the city’s ‘fiesta’ week. There’s so much happening.
Oliver: Oh yeah, like what?
Mum: Well, when I arrived, there were fire-breathing dragons in the streets.
Mum: Yeah, totally crazy. Hey, I’ll send you a photo.
Oliver: Wow, that looks a bit dangerous! Were there any accidents?
Mum: No, it seems to be quite normal here! They’re used to it. Now there are giants walking down the street.
Oliver: Uh-huh? Mum, are you sure you’re feeling OK?
Mum: Yes, love, look - there’s a photo coming!
Oliver: Cor! They’re huge!
Mum: And this morning I saw human castles. You know, where people climb on top of each other and make a tower. Then a little child climbs to the top. I was so nervous, just watching!
Oliver: I don’t get it! Photo, please!
Oliver: Wow! Look at that little girl at the top. Ahh! So, where are you?
Mum: Have a guess, Ollie.
Oliver: Oh I don’t know, Mum ... just tell me. Wherever you are I’m sure it’s better than being here. It’s raining and it’s dark and it’s only 6 o’clock.
Mum: Sorry, love. I am working though, you know! It’s not all fun and games.
Oliver: Yeah, right. So where are you?
Oliver: Oh, Mum ... Barcelona? You said I could come with you next time!
Mum: Oh, I know, next time for sure. I promise.
Oliver: Yeah, OK, Mum.
Mum: Tell Daisy I’ll call her later. Is there anything much going on at the moment?
Oliver: No, you know, Mum, there’s nothing new here! Just the same old London as always. Hey, Mum, I’ve got to go. See you Friday!
Mum: All right, love. Take care now.
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