Where is the subject?

  • daoxunchang

    Senior Member
    Chinese China
    majlo said:
    Where do you think, in the below sentence, is the subject?

    There is more than one way to the city.

    Thanks in advance :)

    :eek: Really, I do not think there is a subject in sentences with "there be " structure.
    Haha, I used this structure too.;)
    But a transformation is possible.
    There is more than one way to the city--> More than one way lead to the city.
     

    kayokid

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Hello.
    I am not positive that this is correct but I believe "there is" is a verbal expression (meaning something exists) and what follows is the subject. That is, "More than one way exists to the city." Hopefully someone (an English teacher) can clarify this further.
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    kayokid said:
    Hello.
    I am not positive that this is correct but I believe "there is" is a verbal expression (meaning something exists) and what follows is the subject. That is, "More than one way exists to the city." Hopefully someone (an English teacher) can clarify this further.

    We had a long discussion on this topic here a while back. I'm just about positive that the subject is "way".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is more than one way to the city.

    This is an example of the existential there, which has some characteristics of a pronoun - and in this sentence is the subject. More than one way to the city is the notional subject.

    [Concept taken from Oxford English Grammar]
     

    RoCi'S

    Senior Member
    Of course there is a subjet in that sentence. Every sentence must hava a subjet.
    In this case THERE is an ANTICIPATORY SUBJET. THE STRUCTURE IS: THERE + VERB + REAL SUBJET + SUBJECTIVE COMPLEMENT: EXAMPLE: THERE IS (verb) A SONG(real subjet) IN MY HEART (subjective complement).
    So..in your case, the real Subjet is MORE THAN ONE WAY.

    THERE may be used before the verb anticipating the real subjet which follows the verb (real subjet in extra position)
     

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    The subject is ''way.'' The expletive there to be is the predicate. The matter that is being talked about is way. More than one is a modifier of the subject way. Note the progression:

    There is a way.
    There is one way. (one modifies way)
    There is more than one way. (more than one modifies way)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    emma42 said:
    I agree that it is "way", but am confused by Panjandrum's post.
    I'll try to undo that confusion, once again referring to the OEG.

    It includes a section on the "existential there", distinguished from the "spatial there". If I quote two specific examples, it should help explain what I meant.
    (a) There were a lot of idiots on the road.
    There - grammatical subject.
    a lot of idiots - notional subject.
    Omitting existential there, the sentence could be re-expressed as:
    A lot of idiots were on the road.

    It then explains that an existential sentence may have only the notional subject (in bold) following the verb, for example:
    (b) There were hundreds of cabins.
    (c) There is nothing quite like Toblerone.

    I suspect that there are many slightly different ways of using some of these grammatical terms. Certainly I find them to be confusing. They are clearly and consistently used within any particular book (usually) but not so across a wide range of sources.

    So, when I look at the sentence that is our topic:
    There is more than one way to the city.
    ...and apply the analysis that OEG uses, I conclude that this is an existential sentence, that it cannot be re-expressed in the way that sentence (a) could be, and that therefore the bold phrase is the notional subject.

    As I implied, I may well be mis-applying this analysis.
    And a further disclaimer: there must be many different ways of analysing the sentence, depending on the "school" of grammar you follow.
     
    Top