"Subject" and "predicate" in sentences starting with "there"?


A third grade student has been asked to find out the subject and the predicate in the sentence:

There are a book and a pen on the table.

Here, it says that the real subject is "a book and a pen" but I know that "there" can also be called a "dummy subject".

What should be the most suitable subject and predicate in this context?


Posted 2020-09-01T23:48:16.760

Reputation: 792



The real subject "there" because it's involved in the subject-auxiliary inversion and used in a question tag:

Subject-auxiliary inversion:

Are there a book and a pen on the table?

Question tag:

There are a book and a pen on the table, aren't there?

"A book and a pen" is a displaced subject. A displaced subject is not syntactically a subject, but it semantically corresponds to the subject in the non-existential counterpart.


Posted 2020-09-01T23:48:16.760

Reputation: 7 435

And the predicate is everything except the "there"? – user100323 – 2020-09-02T03:25:19.720

1Yes @user100323 – user178049 – 2020-09-02T04:52:30.337

and the same thing applies to the the sentences starting with "it"? – user100323 – 2020-09-02T04:53:44.010

1@user100323 For example? – user178049 – 2020-09-02T04:54:48.400

for example, "it is a pleasure working with you" – user100323 – 2020-09-02T04:56:04.910

Yes, @user100323, in an "extraposition" construction like that, the subject is realized by the dummy "it". – user178049 – 2020-09-02T04:56:53.460