Grammar: Level 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dummy Subjects (Review)

Please review this lesson on dummy subjects.


You have learned that the subject always comes first.

Except when it doesn't.

There are, occasionally, times when we don't want to put the subject first. (For example, when we want to emphasize the subject by placing it at the end of the sentence). In these cases, we can open the sentence with a "dummy subject."

Dummy subjects are easy to recognize because there are only two of them:

Of course, you do have to be able to recognize their variations:

Variations of "There is" Variations of "It is"
  • There was
  • There will be
  • There is going to be
  • There has been
  • etc.
  • It was
  • It will be
  • It is going to be
  • It has been
  • etc.

As you have learned, not every instance of "there" or "it" is a dummy subject. However, for this course, we're going to keep it simple:

In this course, anytime you see a sentence that begins with with the words "There" or "It", you can safely conclude that the sentence falls into the "dummy subject" category.

Study the following examples of the dummy subject pattern.

Dummy Subject

The Rest of the Sentence

There is

a house.

It is

important to always take notes.


In the first example, the real subject of the sentence is "a house." If we were to put the elements of the sentence in their proper order (with the subject first), we would get

In some languages, a sentence like that sounds natural, but in English, not so much. To fix the problem, we need to put a fake subject (dummy subject) at the beginning of the sentence, and that allows us to put the real subject at the end. Now we have a sentence that sounds much more natural: "There is a house."

In the second example, the real subject of the sentence is "notes" (or "to always take notes"). If we were to put the elements of the sentence in their proper order (with the subject first), we would end up with sentences such as these:

That first sentence is awkward; the second one is okay. However, we might—for any of several reasons—want to put "notes" at the end of the sentence. We can accomplish this by using a dummy subject.

Instructions for the Quiz

Choose the sentence that has a dummy subject.

Remember: Anytime you see a sentence that begins with with the words "There" or "It", you can safely conclude that the sentence falls into the "dummy subject" category.

Quiz