There is / There are and It

There is / There are and It


As you watch the video, look at the examples of there is, there are and it. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, there is, there are and it correctly.


Sophie is working in Spain this week to write about the local fiestas. She phones Oliver to tell him all about it.

We often use there + to be and It…as a subject but they do not refer to any object. There is / are is used to introduce a topic, or say that something exists. It … is often used for the weather, time and distance.

Can I have some examples of there is / there are, please?

There's so much happening.
Is there anything much going on at the moment?
There are two new students in our class.
There aren't any good football matches on TV this week.

What about other tenses? Is there is / there are only used in the present?

No, you can change the tense.

There were fire-breathing dragons in the streets.
Were there any accidents?
I think there'll be loads of people at the festival.
There haven't been many entries for the competition.

I'm a bit confused about when to use there is / there are and when to use it or they.

Have a look at these sentences. The topic is introduced with there is / are, then it and they refer back to something already mentioned.

There's a good film on channel 2. It starts at 10 o'clock.    (It = the film)
There are two new students in our class. They're from Brazil. (They = the students)

So you can't use it or they as subjects in the first sentences?

No, you can't.

OK, but you can start some sentences with it, can't you? Like, 'It's very hot today.'

Yes. We use it for talking about the weather, time, distance and days and dates.

It's warm and sunny
What time is it? > It's only 6 o'clock
How far is it to the shopping centre? > It's three km to my house from here. It's a long way to walk.
It's Saturday tomorrow, great!
What's the date? It's November 18th.

Phew! That's quite a lot of uses!

Yes, and there's more. We also use it + to be + adjective + infinitive clauses. In these sentences it refers forwards to the infinitive clause.

It's nice to meet you.
It's hard to hear anything with this noise.
Was it easy to understand him?
It'll be difficult to find the venue without a map.

OK, that's enough for one grammar snack. It's time to go.

That's a good it expression!

It's very good of you to say so!

Yes, it really is time to stop now! Bye!


Total votes: 443


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Are there any unusual local celebrations where you live? Tell us about them here.


SaraConner's picture

Well in Sweden there aren't really any "unusual" celebrations more like traditional. We have Midsummer and sometimes the cinnamonbread day that we celebrate. We have different carnivals and festivals we celebrate and go out to enjoy!

2 users have voted.
Nora909's picture

There are a few unusual celebrations in Sweden like midsummer. There's also some local stuff like carnivals in my town which the students organize.

3 users have voted.
Nerminka's picture

our local celebrate is Novruz, Ramadan, Sacrifice holiday and so on. we even have the Pomegranate Festival. But we live in the city is not mentioned. the best is Novruz holiday. I love Novruz holiday very much.

17 users have voted.
AnaB's picture

Hi! Here in Montenegro (Podgorica) there aren't any unusual local celebrations. I'm not sure. I don't live here for too long to know about it.

25 users have voted.
HyoMi07's picture

Are you really from Korea? That's so cool !!!
I really am a fan of South Korea, especially k-pop xD
I'm from Spain (Barcelona) and in Barcelona things are pretty much the same every year so... It's not only in your country hehe.
Anyway, sorry for bothering you ^^

32 users have voted.
cathrin's picture

I live in Iran and I can't see your movies. Could you please email the grammar videos for me? I really need them and I can't use them, please do it for me.

89 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture

Hi catherin,
You should be able to watch the Grammar snack videos from any country in the world. What happens when you try to play the video? Which internet browser are you using? Can you watch the videos in Video UK? We can't send you videos by email, but you should be able to watch these Grammar snack videos online. We will try and help you solve the problem.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

98 users have voted.
max78's picture

I live in Crimea, Ukraine. My native town is Evpatorya.Here we havegiant show and live sculpture show.It's interesting to see them peforming!

113 users have voted.