According to http://dictionary.reverso.net/german-english/es, it's an Einleitewort mit folgendem Subjekt.
Here are some examples:
es geschah ein Unglück there was an accident
es kamen viele Leute a lot of people came
es lebe der König! long live the king!
es meldete sich niemand nobody replied
es war einmal eine Königin once upon a time there was a queen
These sentences could, in principal, also be expressed as
ein Unglück geschah an accident happened
viele Leute kamen a lot of people came
der König lebe! long live the king!
niemand meldete sich nobody replied
es gab einmal eine Königin once upon a time there was a queen
The main differences are stylistic. The difference between ein Mann kam auf mich zu and es kam ein Mann auf mich zu is, I believe, one of focus. In the first sentence, the subject feels like the focus, to me, but in the second sentence, the focus seems to be more on the action, what happened to me and what I experienced. I'm not so sure about Turkish, but I think the first sentence might be something like bir adam bana geldi, whereas the second is more like bir bana gelen adam vardı. Hmm, maybe not, but the sentences with es seems more in line with the es gibt / there is / var kind of sentences.
For example, I would translate: viele Leute sitzen am Tisch as many people are sitting at the table, but es sitzen viele Leute am Tisch would be there are many people sitting at the table. Both ein Mann kam auf mich zu and es kam ein Mann auf mich zu, I would translate into English exactly the same way: a man came up to me. We seem to be unable to make that distinction in English. Maybe a native speaker can explain it more succinctly.
In your case, the different structures convey a difference in meaning:Guten Tag
Can you explain how "es" is used in this sentence?
"Es waren nicht alle Dorfbewohner tot"
normally should not it be like below?
"Alle Dorfbewohner waren nicht tot"
In your case, the different structures convey a difference in meaning:
"Es waren nicht alle Dorfbewohner tot" -- Not all the village people were dead. (i.e., some of them were alive, but some of them were dead)
"Alle Dorfbewohner waren nicht tot" -- All of them were alive.
I've added several sentences to my post above. There is no word "there" in the English sentences (and nothing that means "there" in the German sentences).
The es is not exactly like the existential there in English (or var in Turkish). Most of the time, the two alternative German sentences are translated into English exactly the same way because we simply cannot fit "there" into the sentence (- well, we can, but then it means a spatial there, as in German da/dort, Turkish şurada/orada). The difference of style is small enough, that we get by perfectly well without an equivalent in English but it feels very useful in German (it's also in Swedish and probably also in other Germanic languages, even though it's lacking in English). I also find it hard to explain exactly what the difference is, when the es kam ein Mann sentence would be used, and when the simple ein Mann kam sentence is used. The more you use German, the more you get a feel for these things, but to me it feels like the es takes the focus away from the subject and places it more on the action. It's main use seems to be to get the subject away from the beginning of the sentence and place it after the verb (in the V2 position) - usually this is done by placing another part of the sentence there, but most of the time, that other part of the sentence adds its own semantic information to the sentence. For example:
Ein Mann kam auf mich zu und fragte mich, ob ... A man came up to me and asked me if ... (Ein Mann seems to be the most important thing in this sentence).Dann kam ein Mann auf mich zu und fragte mich, ob ... Then a man came up to me and asked me if ... (Dann is at the beginning and it takes a bit of the focus away from ein Mann. The point of this sentence is to tell us what happened next, not so much to say what a man did.)
Es kam ein Mann auf mich zu und fragte mich, ob ... A man came up to me and asked me if ... (Ein Mann has been moved away from the beginning, but the thing that has pushed it away (es), unlike dann, has no semantic value at all.)
When learning German, there's a lot that has to be remembered by heart and consciously thought about until it becomes second nature (the inflection of nouns, determiners, pronouns and adjectives in different genders, the conjugation of verbs) but then there are other things that are simply best learned by using the language and getting a feel for it, such as the nuances conveyed by moving different parts of the sentence around to accentuate different information. I too would love to see an explanation of when the Es-VERB-SUBJEKT sentences tend to be preferred over the SUBJEKT-VERB sentences, but I fear that an explanation of that may not help you to choose which one to use at each time.
http://www.grammatikbegriffe.de/html/platzhalter-es.htmlAber auch Sätze ohne Objekt kann man in eine Art Passiv-Form umändern. Damit können Sie eine verallgemeinerte Aussage machen, ohne zu sagen, wer oder was es macht.
Source126.96.36.199.3. German dummy subject constructions
Helbig&Buscha (1980:359ff.) classify the grammatical function of the dummy partical es according to the valency patterns of German verbs; however, no specific groups of verbs can be classified as taking es as formal or grammatical subject preferentially. The non-referential uses of German es are classified as two-fold (which is cogent for the other two languages as well).
Es described as dummy or ‘grammatical’ subject appears in clauses denoting meteorological phenomena, which is the only ‘grammatical subject proper’ in German.
It's good thinking to try to get down to some basic logic as we seem to get lost in the details of specific examples.I too would love to see an explanation of when the Es-VERB-SUBJEKT sentences tend to be preferred over the SUBJEKT-VERB sentences, but I fear that an explanation of that may not help you to choose which one to use at each time.
In case #a "nicht alle Dorfbewohner" (not all of the inhabitants of the village) is not only the subject, but also the topic (theme) of the sentence, while "waren tot" (their being dead) is the comment (rheme) about them.
- Nicht alle Dorfbewohner waren tot.
- Es waren nicht alle Dorfbewohner tot.
Both forms are used (example) but the former is certainly the more frequent one.For the same reason, when talking about accidents without damage to humans, the word order of the news is always:
- Verletzt wurde niemand.
- *Niemand wurde verletzt.