A bottle may be on / There may be a bottle on

Scorny

Senior Member
USA
English - American
I have been asked about the following sentences and correct usage:


(1) On the table is a bottle of wine.
(2) On the table may be a bottle of wine.

I believe while the phrasing is unusual, they are both grammatically correct. The sentences sound rather stiff and unnatural as they appear, but perhaps when used in certain situations they could add variety to some writing or conversation. The more conventional expressions would be:

A bottle of wine is on the table. (rather stiff sounding as well, but depending on the occasion it might be appropriate)
-or-
There's a bottle of wine on the table. (This sounds much more like a natural statement of fact.)

A bottle of wine may be on the table.
-or-
There may be a bottle of wine on the table. (If you are lucky, somebody put it there.)

The effectiveness of the expression would depend on the intent of the speaker and how it is perceived by the audience. Sentence "1" is a declarative statement of fact, while sentence 2 injects a sense of doubt or hope depending on the point of view of the speaker. I would appreciate feedback on whether or not the first examples are correct.

Thanks
 
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