Why is it "Here you are!" but "Here comes the teacher."?



Why is it "Here you are!" but "Here comes the teacher." ? I'm quite confused. When should I use inversion?


Posted 2015-06-25T14:34:11.650

Reputation: 151

Here is the cheese (thing or non-human being), here comes the mirror man (person coming), here you are (person) (person who arrived). I'm 95% sure. – Archa – 2015-06-25T14:46:38.743

2Invert only with a pronoun. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-06-25T15:23:45.463

@StoneyB "Invert only with a pronoun." <== er, are you sure on that? – F.E. – 2015-06-25T17:40:11.133

Your first example "Here you are!" has preposed a locative element ("Here"), while your second example "Here comes the teacher" has subject-dependent inversion. Preposing and subject-dependent inversion have different pragmatic constraints; and the context and the speaker's intent are major factors as to which can or could be used. ASIDE: Notice that sometimes the meaning can be different from the ordinary/canonical word order: "Here comes the bus" (inversion) versus "The bus comes here" (canonical word order). – F.E. – 2015-06-25T17:52:02.677

@F.E. So it's OK to say "Here the teacher comes!" just like "Here she comes!" ? It's really awkward sounding to me even if it may be technically correct. I can't think of an example of inversion that counters the guideline of only inverting with a pronoun. – ColleenV – 2015-06-25T19:32:46.057

@FE Of course you are right, and I put it backward, treating the inverted version as 'canonical'. Only the bare pronoun canNOT be inverted with the verb. Noun phrases and modified pronouns may be inverted, and usually are. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-06-25T20:34:06.260

A simplified version of the rule can go like this: We can say "Here/There X VERB." only when X is I/you/we/they/he/she/it. Otherwise, it has to be either "X VERB here/there." or "Here/There VERB X." – Damkerng T. – 2015-06-25T21:00:12.013

@StoneyB Er, are you saying that expressions like "here was I" and "there was I" are unacceptable? – F.E. – 2015-06-25T22:15:16.467

@DamkerngT. We can say "Here/There X VERB." only when X is I/you/we/they/he/she/it. <== er, could you provide us a source for that rule? (aside: I'm wondering because of an example like "There the boys go!") – F.E. – 2015-06-25T22:23:54.190

@DamkerngT. Perhaps more examples: "There the teacher gives his lectures each morning" and "Here the teacher tells jokes to his favorite students after class". – F.E. – 2015-06-25T22:29:39.000

@F.E. They appear to be. Google ngrams says Here I was is 20 times more frequent than Here was I, and the first hundred hits I'm given on Here was I show not a single instance when I is not modified by a following adjectival or appositive or both. Google does have a bunch of bare Here am Is, but in every instance but two of the first hundred it's a religious use alluding to the KJV's rendering of Hebrew hinneni "behold me" = I am at your service. The two others are representations of foreign speech. [Many of the hits in both tests were false; I didn't bother to count them.] – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-06-25T22:39:43.347

@F.E. Beautiful! I was groping for an explanation. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-06-25T22:42:34.313

@StoneyB It's possible that something like "Here/There was I" as a standalone sentence might be unusual, or marked, or unacceptable in many contexts. But it probably could easily be the main clause of a sentence, e.g. H&P CGEL page 1389: [14.i.a] Here was I, an African woman on the grants committee of a British aid agency, suggesting that we scrap a paragraph that dealt with 'gender implications'. and [14.i.b] And there was I imagining that underneath that hostile exterior there was a girl who really held me in high esteem.; though those two examples do have extra stuff in them. – F.E. – 2015-06-25T22:58:02.890

@StoneyB My last comment seems to provide counterexamples to my previous comment about subject-dependent inversion's, er in general, constraint w.r.t. personal pronouns at the end. er, er, . . . Okay, CGEL says that the "here" and "there" in those examples have been largely bleached of their locative meanings, thus is a stylistic device. – F.E. – 2015-06-25T23:01:07.613

@F.E. Your examples are exactly the sort of modified pronouns I had in mind--so I think we're in agreement, except perhaps with respect to the notion of 'modification'. I've frankly become uncomfortable with that term, but I can't suggest anything better. ... Here's a thought that just struck me: if Here am I were actually in use, wouldn't you expect it to become Here's me, to conform to the ordinary colloquial distribution of I/me? – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-06-25T23:07:25.180

@StoneyB Maybe there's also: "There was I, on top of a mountain that no one else had thought to climb", where the ending stuff seems more related to be applying to (modifying?) the bleached "There". -- I was also thinking of something like a person pointing to a picture and exclaiming "There was I", but that's extremely marked. But otherwise, the main clause would probably not be found in isolation as its own complete sentence. imo, so far. EDIT: I just saw your last addition to your previous comment! – F.E. – 2015-06-25T23:13:23.567

@ColleenV Your two examples use preposing (not inversion). With subject-dependent inversion (e.g. "Here come the boys"), in general it has the pragmatic constraint that the front element cannot be newer (w.r.t. informational status) than the rear element. Personal pronouns, like "I" and "they", usually have old informational status (often due to an anaphoric relationship to a previous NP). This is why "Here come we" is bad, because "we" is old info; and why "In a field in the woods was an old lady" is good, but "In a field in the woods was she" is bad. REPOSTED: fixed a bad typo. – F.E. – 2015-06-25T23:23:46.043

@StoneyB er, I had to delete and then repost that "good comment" of mine, due to it having a bad, bad typo in it -- basically, I did a similar typo as you did! Probably caught that virus from, er, you. :( . . . :D . . . (What's really bad is that I had stared at the sentence and reread it a bunch of times to make sure that I wouldn't mess up, since I was wording it in a different way than that usually found in books.) – F.E. – 2015-06-25T23:25:16.317

@F.E. Thanks for setting me straight. It always surprises me how much of my native tongue I can write correctly without really understanding why it's correct! – ColleenV – 2015-06-26T00:46:16.410

@F.E. "There the teacher gives his lectures each morning" and "Here the teacher tells jokes to his favorite students after class" is irrelevant, and I'm sure you know why it's irrelevant. For learners, it should be obvious that it's not "There X VERB", but "There X VERB SOMETHING". -- About the rule, I don't believe it's too hard to draft one, once we list all possible patterns. So I tried to make one. I may need to give it more thoughts, but not now. In any case, if you know the rules or the answer, which I believe you know, I beg you to post one for the benefit of ELL. – Damkerng T. – 2015-06-26T00:54:38.010

@DamkerngT. Consider: "There the boy sat. For hours he sat there waiting for a phone call that would never come. And now, all there is left of him is a skeleton. Woe is he who waits alone." <== That seems okay to me. Is there actually a "rule" out there that you can't have "There/Here NP Verb" when NP is not a pronoun? – F.E. – 2015-06-26T01:03:03.820

@F.E. I still haven't thought it through, but one-minute thinking gives me this revision, which I think should be good enough: When X is I/you/we/they/he/she/it, use "Here/There X VERB." Otherwise, use either "X VERB here/there." or "Here/There VERB X." -- This shifts the focus to "What pattern should be used?" instead of "What patterns are allowed?". – Damkerng T. – 2015-06-26T01:37:54.537

I don't think I've ever given as much thought to anything I've ever spoken as has been given to "here" here. From where I'm standing, having spoken English since birth, I can't even imagine a single instance where "here" would be different and therefore incorrect. "Here comes the band" "The band comes here" "I like it here" "Here, I like it" "Here be dragons" "Dragons be here" "Here we are" "We're here" "Here we're" "Hear it here" "Here you can hear". – None – 2015-06-26T06:10:36.523

@TechnikEmpire "Here we're" <== Is that really acceptable to your ear as a standalone sentence? Also, a NWO sentence sometimes has a different meaning than its CWO version: notice how "Here comes the bus" (NWO) has a different meaning from "The bus comes here" (CWO). – F.E. – 2015-06-26T07:13:10.117

1@DamkerngT. They are two different information packaging constructions: "preposing" and "subject-dependent inversion"; and so, should really be treated separately. That is, it isn't one or the other. The default word order (i.e. canonical word order, CWO) is, in general, almost always acceptable in any context (e.g. "Subject + Verb + Dependent" is in CWO). But information packaging constructions use non-canonical word order (NWO) and have pragmatic constraints; and so, context will determine whether a sentence in NWO will be acceptable or not. – F.E. – 2015-06-26T07:14:50.713

@F.E. yes you're right. My answer is focused more on pointing out to the OP that "here" means the same thing in any context. As for "Here we're", yes this is perfectly acceptable. "Here we're going to build the greatest city on Earth." or "Right here we're going to lay the corner stone." – None – 2015-06-26T07:16:32.880

@TechnikEmpire But notice in my "Here comes the bus" example that its "here" has a different meaning from the "here" in "The bus comes here". – F.E. – 2015-06-26T07:18:34.570

@F.E. Here doesn't have a different meaning in those two contexts. Here is the present location, always. The rest of the sentence is fundamentally different as it pertains to the bus yes, but not "here". – None – 2015-06-26T07:24:18.917

@TechnikEmpire But the two sentences do have different meanings, yes? If so, then what makes them be different? Their "the bus" is the same, yes? The verb "comes" means the same, yes? The "here" in "The bus comes here" has the normal locative meaning of a place; but the "here" in "Here comes the bus" might have a slightly different meaning in that sentence. If you don't think "here" has different meanings in the two sentences, then how do you explain the difference in meaning? Though, perhaps it is doable to consider that the different structural forms of the sentences as being the reason. – F.E. – 2015-06-26T07:31:16.353

@F.E. I would explain the difference in that "the bus comes here" is indicative that the bus has, in the past, and will again the future, arrive at the present point (explicitly omitting the present for the bus), whereas "Here comes the bus" is indicating presently the bus is in motion to arrive promptly at the present location. It's funny how being a native speaker you never really break down the rules of these things, they just make sense without a structured rule-based explanation. But then when you start trying to explain with rules, it breaks down. :-) – None – 2015-06-26T07:34:48.807

@DamkerngT. I've recently spend a good hunk of time writing this answer post Is it “I” or “me” in “Keep Tom and I/me updated”?, and so, I'm kinda worn out. The topic of preposing is a biggie! Books have been written on it, and the so-called "rules" have been getting corrected constantly. I'm going through a 1998 published book right now; it is 300 pages on NWO stuff, and spends 65 pages of that specifically on preposing! So, that implies that there probably aren't going to be simple absolute-like rules: there will be plenty of so-called exceptions.

– F.E. – 2015-06-26T07:42:31.657

@F.E. The Tom and I/me question is in my reading list now! The whole subject seems to be complex as you say. It's already not easy to point out to students why "Here comes Mr. Pip (our teacher)." doesn't really mean "Mr. Pip comes here." For a little more complex sentence, the acceptability can vary from speaker to speaker. Here is my mock-up example: H = here, B = all sorts of birds, C = come and go, I = in autumn. (Note the go.) I think these (with/without commas) are acceptable at varying degree: B C H I. I, B C H. H, C B I. H, B C I. H I, C B. H I, B C. I H C B. I H B C. – Damkerng T. – 2015-06-26T10:27:48.417

Perhaps the OP might have meant to ask a question more in line of something like:: Why is it that we can say "There she goes" but not "There goes she"? And yet, we can say "There goes the bus"? <== And even that type of question has the problem that "There she goes" might be ambiguous, with a 2nd interpretation that means "She goes there". And also, perhaps the status of "There the bus goes" might be unclear, though it probably does have two interpretations. -- And so, the OP's examples probably should both be using the same main verb (e.g. "GO"), in order to narrow down the question. – F.E. – 2015-06-26T16:34:59.377



"Here" in both contexts is simply the present location of the person making the statement. Some examples:

If I'm standing in the kitchen and I say "The kitchen is here", I'm simply saying that where I am is same location as the kitchen.

If I stand next to my brother and say "My brother is here" or even "Here is my brother!", I'm simply saying that my brother is in the same general location as I am.

If my wife and I are looking for my car keys, and I exclaim "Here they are!", I'm simply indicating that I've found the car keys in the location that I'm presently in.

If I then tell my wife "Come over here.", I'm simply telling my wife to move from her location and come to my current location. As she is approaching me, I could say "Here comes my wife.", which is simply indicating that she is in the process of moving to my present location.

The meaning of here is the same in all of these situations. Note however that "Here" can be relative in terms of the scope of the location. I could say "Here in Canada, we like to eat cheese." Again, the meaning of "Here" is the same, it is my present location, but I'm specifying the scope of my location to my country. I could define this scope to whatever I like.

"Here, on planet Earth, we need water."

"Here in my town, we don't like potholes."

"The Pan Am games are coming here."


Posted 2015-06-25T14:34:11.650



When you use here as an adverb of place at the start of a sentence and the subject is a personal pronoun, there's no inversion; we don't invert with a pronoun. For examples:

Here he comes.

Here they are.

Here it is.

On the other hand, if the subject is a noun, there's an inversion.

Here comes the bus.

Here comes the teacher.

Here is Adam.


Posted 2015-06-25T14:34:11.650

Reputation: 26 261