Sentence 004 Let the cat out of the bag.
Leslie: Which of the three Sentences is the worst?
Anna: I think the worst Sentence is ’There are red on the table.’
L: OK, but why?
A: Because the Verb ’are’ is plural and ’red’ is singular.
L: Almost, but not quite. ’Red’ is an Adjective and Adjectives cannot be plural in English and they are not singular either. Nouns are singular or plural.
A: But there isn’t a Noun here. That is the problem.
L: If there is no Noun, there is no Subject in this Sentence.
A: If there is no Noun and no Subject, there is no Sentence.
L: You are right. Which Sentence is also bad?
A: ’There is red on the table.’
L: Why is it bad?
A: For the same reason: there is no Subject in this Sentence, so it is not a Sentence.
L: You are right. So the correct Sentence is ’There is a red book on the table.’ What is the Subject here?
L: Right. And what is the meaning of ’There’?
A: I don’t know. Maybe nothing.
L: You are right. We call it Dummy Subject. Like the dummies in the shop-window who are wearing your clothes. They are not real girls; they only look like girls.
A: So the Dummy Subject is not a Real Subject. It only looks like a Real Subject.
L: The Dummy Subject tells you: ’I’m not the Real Subject. I only stand here to keep the place for the Real Subject and to make the Verb more important. A Jump Word can jump over me to make a question. I have no information at all; all the information is with the Real Subject. The Real Subject is standing there behind the Verb, and it is a red book.’