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!

 

Language level: 

Discussion

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

Comments

99magdalena's picture
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99magdalena 8 November, 2014 - 18:35

I personally don't think that we are celebrating anything unusual here in Sweden. But if I would have to chose it would be midsummer. I am from Poland so I am not really celebrating it and I can't say so much about the celebration. But I can say that there is a lot of good food and a lot of fun!

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helloholahej's picture
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helloholahej 7 November, 2014 - 19:21

In Sweden we have this celebration called "Lucia". We celebrate it the thirteenth of December to honor the Saint Lucia, she was not a Swedish though, but Sicilian. This marks the start of Christmas celebrations. Some people (mostly kids and younger people) join a “Lucia Parade” where they dress up as Santa Clauses, gingerbreads, and “tärnor” witch is girls and boys that walk behind the one dressed up as Lucia. They wear white dresses and are holding candles in their hands. At the end of the parade the “star boys” walk. They have white dresses and white cones on their heads. They have actually been confused with the KKK but it has absolutely nothing to do with that. The entire parade sings Christmas carols and gives out free coffee, gingerbread and saffron buns. All this takes place in the early morning so it is dark accept the light from the candles in the parade. It is quite cozy actually.

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MrCucumber's picture
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MrCucumber 7 November, 2014 - 07:49

The only unsual celebration that I can think of is Midsummer. I´m from swededn and when me and my friend were in London we thought it would be funny to show some people the swedish tradition. We showed them how to jump around like frogs but they just laughed at us and thought we were kidding.

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sonjath's picture
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sonjath 6 November, 2014 - 21:14

I would say, midsummer is an unusual celebration. We dance, eat herring and strawberries and sing songs about funny frogs. We do have Lucia, though, but I wouldn't say that that's a local celebration, because it originally comes from Italy. It's basically one girl, Lucia, with a crown with candles on her head and people in long, white dresses singing Christmas carols with candles in their hands.

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MalalaFan's picture
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MalalaFan 6 November, 2014 - 19:36

I think that almost every country has its "unusual" celebration, it's just not unusual to the people who are used to it. For example, in Sweden we have something called midsommar, and what we do at midsommar is that we dance around a big pole in the ground and sing.

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Fartasaki's picture
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Fartasaki 6 November, 2014 - 14:49

Most celebrations are odd to me, but there is one that tops alot of them in Sweden. It's called midsummer, and I have no real idea what we celebrate, however I do know it features dancing around a pole, which kind of looks like "the pillar and the stones". I hope you know what I mean.

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MetallicA's picture
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MetallicA 6 November, 2014 - 12:14

i think that midsummer sums it all up. it's a wickerd celebration for no known cause.. I mean we dance around a big cross, acting like frogs and other animals. this could have influences from religion but midsummer also includes alot of alcohol drinking.

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Fredde_Regge's picture
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Fredde_Regge 5 November, 2014 - 19:20

In Sweden we have something called midsummer and that is pretty much us dancing around a big pole that's decorated with leafs and flowers. I think this ia rather unusual.

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Tocca's picture
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Tocca 3 November, 2014 - 15:42

I'm from Sweden and well... Midsummer of course. You basically dance like a frog around a flowercovered pole. But I would say "Day of cinnamonbun" doesn't exist in other countries, does it? Or "Fat Tuesday" where you eat buns with cream? Ugh, hard to translate, but it would be great fun to know.

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SeaBreezeMcZazzle's picture
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SeaBreezeMcZazzle 2 November, 2014 - 20:21

I agree with the other swedes here, midsummer is a rather unusual celebration where you dance around a pole pretending to be a frog and whatnot. All cultures are weird in their own way.

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HannahSch's picture
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HannahSch 2 November, 2014 - 18:30

I think that midsummer is kind of strange, I mean dancing around a pole pretending to be frog isn't very normal, and all the other songs in fact. I can't think of something else that is more strange than the other traditions.

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SaraConner's picture
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SaraConner 30 October, 2014 - 16:10

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!

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Nora909's picture
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Nora909 29 October, 2014 - 16:44

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.

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Kimmy's picture
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Kimmy 29 October, 2014 - 16:40

Yes. We have traditions in Sweden such as "midsommar" (midsummer). We also have local celebrations such as carnivals etc.

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hallonsmoothi's picture
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hallonsmoothi 29 October, 2014 - 12:36

i don't think we have any unusual celebrations in sweden except waffelday and cinnamonrollday haha..

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Nerminka's picture
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Nerminka 9 March, 2014 - 17:42

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.

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AnaB's picture
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AnaB 24 November, 2013 - 02:29

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.

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Ash94's picture
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Ash94 19 November, 2013 - 08:59

Hi,
I love these Grammar snack videos. Could you please add some more?? I watched all of them.
Best regards, Ash

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lekjana-ana's picture
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lekjana-ana 23 February, 2013 - 06:05

are Saints days it celebration from different cities in my country i think that is a local celebration

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