there were

yakor

Senior Member
Russian
Hello! Could one ask by this way
-How many children there were on the meeting? not only like
--How many children were on the meeting there?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    None of that is correct. Do you mean at the meeting? (Children don’t normally go to meetings!) And you need inversion in a question: how many were there?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That changes the meaning, and is not idiomatic anyway.

    How many children were there at the meeting?
    There were 11 of them.

    This is the existential there. It doesn’t indicate location (there as opposed to here). The location is indicated by the phrase “at the meeting”.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This is the existential there. It doesn’t indicate location (there as opposed to here). The location is indicated by the phrase “at the meeting”.
    Yesterday, I had got a meeting with my school mates.
    -How many children were there, at the meeting, there? (still wrong?)
    -How many children were at meeting, there? (still wrong?)
    -How many children were there at the meeting, in your home?
    -How many children were at the meeting, in your home?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It depends what you want to say.

    There is/are/was/were … (existential there)
    We/you/they were there … (locative there)
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It depends what you want to say.

    There is/are/was/were … (existential there)
    We/you/they were there … (locative there)
    -How many children were there, at the meeting, there?
    -There were Jack, Tom, me and Jam there. (you can not tell the number of them)
    -How many children were at meeting, there?
    -There were 4 children there.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    -How many children were there, at the meeting, there?
    -There were Jack, Tom, me and Jam there. (you can not tell the number of them)
    The ", there." at the end is, as lingobingo says, locative. "there" is a place and "at the meeting" is also a place (and a time). You wouldn't say both of them.
    The first "there" is existence. If the children "were at the meeting", then they must exist so you don't need to say that either.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The ", there." at the end is, as lingobingo says, locative. "there" is a place and "at the meeting" is also a place (and a time). You wouldn't say both of them.
    The first "there" is existence. If the children "were at the meeting", then they must exist so you don't need to say that either.
    I can't get you here.
    The meeting could be everywhere.
    We had the meeting in my home(there) (there-place). There were 4 children at the meeting in my home. (I know it myself) But someone asks.
    -How many children were there at the meeting, in your home? OR
    -How many children were there at the meeting, there. (in my home)
    ps. You often call the place where something is and use the existentional "there" at that.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The meeting could be everywhere.
    If it's "the meeting", we know the time and place.
    Yes, sometimes redundancy is okay, but being redundant twice in the same sentence is not usual. You sentence doesn't sound like something a native speaker would normally say.
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    How many children were at the meeting, there?[...]
    I think you've been getting good advice, Yakor. I think this is idiomatic, though you should be clear what it is asking.

    As people have said, the final 'there' is locative, and, because of the word order, emphatic. This doesn't mean that it makes the question unidiomatic in my view. Your question is asking how many children were attending that particular meeting, ie. the meeting at that venue.

    Please don't now ask about several other possible word orders. I think it best to keep questions limited, so that we can feel that our answers apply very directly to the question asked, and won't be lost in a soup of complexity.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To summarise (with the bold indicating stress on that word when spoken):

    Existential there:

    How many children were there at the meeting? = How many attended the meeting?
    Locative there:
    How many children were there at the meeting? = How many attended the meeting that was held there?
    How many children were at the meeting there? = How many attended the meeting that was held there?
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think you've been getting good advice, Yakor. I think this is idiomatic, though you should be clear what it is asking.
    Your question is asking how many children were attending that particular meeting, ie. the meeting at that venue.
    Which advice do you mean? There could be more than one meeting and I ask about that one which was at home.
     
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