English isn't my first language and I am a little uncertain about the 'it is' and 'there is'. I always write what I think sounds the most natural. But in most cases, they both feel correct.
Question is, how are they used correctly?
Ah, I'll keep that in mind next time I have a question like that.
Thanks for the help. Think I get it now.
I just wrote a massive paragraph a couple of hours ago trying to explain the difference, got distracted by something shiny on the floor, and then accidentally deleted it. Here we go again.
The differences are pretty subtle and quite hard to explain when you haven't studied English grammar and have just grown up knowing when to use both of them like most native English speakers. However, I'll give it a go.
"It" generally refers to things like time, distance, weather, and the general environment or feeling of a place. Here is a conversation illustrating some common examples of "it is" being used in these ways (Note: "it's" is generally more common than "it is", and I'm sure you're aware that you can also say "there's" instead of "there is" seeing as you seem proficient at English):
"England makes me sad; it is always raining here." (It is actually raining right now over here)
"It isn't that far to travel to the rest of the Europe, so why don't you just go and live there you filthy nation traitor?"
"I don't have time to do anything but grovel pathetically and hate my own people. It's too late to go there now and I'm just too much of a bloody cretin to do anything with my life."
"You really are a cretin, aren't you? Yes, that's right; dance for me, cretin! Now begone... It's ruining my good mood. Begone I say!"
Like Mizal said, "It" also refers to objects that have been specified already, marking them as the subject of the sentence. For example:
"The ball rolls towards you. It is red, shiny, and smooth." Here, "there is" wouldn't work because the word "there" tends to specify the existence of something, whereas "it" is used to describe the object. This is explained more below.
"There" is used to express things like position, events, and existence. Here are some examples:
"There's a party tonight! Do you want to go?"
"With you? Ha! There's no chance I would be let in with someone like you."
"There is a ball by the tree."
"What? Where the hell did that come from?"
"It is just an example, okay?!"
Getting a bit off topic towards the end, but I hope you get the idea! One more tricky example of "it is" would be the following:
"You burst into the room. It is filled with a range of strange objects." Here, you could say "...there are a range of strange objects." and it would make perfect sense as well. "It is" in this case, I think, describes the room participating in the verb of being 'filled', so even though it does describe existence (of the objects), I think it's just a secondary consequence of the description of the room as being 'filled'.
I hope this helps! There may be a few other examples where there are differences between the two that I might have missed. That's partially why English is considered one of the most difficult languages; we have so many exceptions to rules! Good luck with your writing and, just out of curiosity, what is your first language?
Wow, thank you so much for taking your time getting into detail and explaining it. That really means a lot to me. Think I'm getting a good sense of how to properly use it now. Or well, we'll see if I have once I've published the finished product of the story I'm working on. English is rather confusing at times. At times I end up sitting, scratching my head, wondering how it all makes sense.
Norwegian is my first language, which is also a difficult language, even for a native Norwegian speaker.
You're welcome my friend. Feel free to ask me questions any time, though you're probably learning American English as opposed to British English, so my spelling may be very slightly different. However, my American English spelling isn't too bad either, so I can always put it in that form if you like!
I'm not surprised; I had to think about this for a while as well actually. Still, your English sounds pretty impeccable. I know nothing about Norwegian (the fact that loads of foreign people want to learn English tends to make us lazy here, though I do make an effort with some foreign language), but I'll take your word that it's a hard language.
Thanks, I'm grateful.
Both, actually. Learned British English in school, but outside I ended up with the American English because I didn't know there was a difference until much later. I do both now, so no problem at all.
Probably have some grammar flaws here and there, but that's to be expected. Taking it from a native language speaker, that means a lot, by the way. I always try to improve and get better.
At least, that's what most coming to Norway says. They really do find the language hard, and I get why. English and Norwegian share a few common traits. One of them being grammar that, at times, doesn't make much sense unless you study it hard. Main problem with the Norwegian language is that we have used the wrong grammar for such a long time, everyone probably use it incorrectly by now, with the exception of the experts within the language. Funny, isn't?
So what language are you doing? Like the regular ones, such as French or Spanish?
There's not much difference between the two apart from the Americans love of using 'z' instead of 's' in '-ising' words etc. and we like to throw in a few dodgy 'u's into words every so often, so either one is fine! Thankfully there aren't really different dialects that make it almost impossible each other like in north and south Germany and a few other countries. That's great; I think that travelling to different countries is really valuable in loads of ways, and there's something I find hard to describe that's really rewarding about speaking to other people in a language you're learning, even if the conversation is simple.
Haha, yeah that is odd. Still, language always has and always will flow from one idea of correct to another. It's the same with archaic English; original Shakespeare is barely understandable to the native speaker without guidance.
I wasn't offered Spanish in school, so I only know a few sentences. I learned a little French, but chose German and can still remember a fair amount of that. Mainly though I've been learning Japanese for quite a few years and have gone on two homestays over there so far. Hopefully I'm going back to do some volunteer work for 3 months if I can sort it out in a couple of months time as well!
Aha, true. Germany have different dialects? I had no idea. Norway as well, by the way. We have so many dialects, and some are actually more difficult to understand than others, but not entirely. Never traveled much myself, but I'm guessing it's quite the experience, like learning about cultures, history. Those are interesting factors. And I can agree to the language part. To know you are growing, becoming better that's a reward in itself, it gives you a sense of achievement.
Old languages change drastically through centuries. Take Icelandic for example, it originates from the Norse language which is quite a long time ago. It's fascinating, isn't it?
Then I know who I should ask if I need help with the Japanese. Had half a year with Japanese in school. It's a difficult language. Nothing can be compared to it. Then I dropped out, because it was hard and everyone was ahead of me. Got back to it though. A teacher I had in school went to Japan, stayed with a family there. I'm assuming that's what you did. I've always been intrigued by the thought, but it's really safe at home, you know.
Yeah, I think so. One of my brothers lives in Germany and I'm pretty sure he said that people in the north and south can't understand each other because of the dialects. I've actually hardly travelled around either. The fact that I've never been to France, which you can literally drive to from England via the Eurotunnel, amazes most of my friends. Yeah, that's exactly right.
I didn't know that! Taak for the info. (I only know that word from the Sigur Ros album!)
Mochiron de! zannen de, kono saito ni kana ka kanji ga tsukawanai dakara romaji wo tsukawanakerebanaranai desu. Shikashi, mada tetsudate kureru koto ga tanoshii de shitsumon ga areba kiite mo ii desu. Igirisu ni nihongo ga wakateiru hito ha totemo mezurashii desu node renshuu no ha itsumo shitai de chansu ga aru toki suki nano desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
While I can't translate into Norwegian, in English: Of course! Unfortunately, we can't use kana or kanji on this website. However, I'd be happy to help you with Japanese, so feel free to ask any questions if you have them. Japanese speakers are pretty rare in England, so I always love practicing with other people when I have the chance (I used the filthy loan word 'chansu', which comes from English, because I can't remember the nicer sounding Japanese word). Yoroshiku onegaishimasu (there's no real way to translate this, but I'm sure you've come across this phrase. If you ever go to Japan, say this to people and they'll fricking love you it's amazing)
Yeah, it's a hard language, especially the kanji, which I'm pretty crap at. I used to be alright but got out of the practice. That's exactly what I did; I seriously loved it both times.
That's like two different languages, but is called the same. Funny. Oh, so France is like what Sweden and Denmark is to us Norwegian people. You can drive there for a short visit and drive back the same day. Travel isn't that big of a deal, like so many say it is, anyway. At times I think we are just so excited to see other places we forget to explore the parts of our own country.
You've picked up a word. That's great. I've always loved the Icelandic language for a great may reasons.
Yeah, that's a shame we can't. Would be much better to be able to use kana or kanji. But romaji works, although it's our alphabet. I'd be glad just to get some advice here and there. I've always struggled with the Japanese signs, mostly kanji. Can't seem to memorize it. I'd be happy to practice along with you sometime. Oh, I know that one. It's a part of their politeness, can also be used in an introduction, or well, after you've introduced yourself or someone else to another person.
On the bright side, you're probably more familiar with kanji than I am. Must be nice. And it's so much easier to learn a language when you are surrounded by native speakers.
Finnish is my favourite European language by sound. Danish sounds so strange! There was a Scandinavian noir series I watched, either The Bridge or The Killing, and they spoke Danish and I always thought it sounded like a strange, garbled version of German.
Yeah, it feels weird writing in romaji, but it does the job. Sure, I'd be happy to help. True, I'd say the two things that make Japanese one of the hardest languages in the World is the grammar and bloody kanji. There're supposedly ways of learning it in a month or two if you basically only concentrate on learning kanji. The best technique I've encountered personally is where you make up weird, memorable stories for each character to describe the radicals it's made up from or the way it looks. I'm skeptical, though, seeing as it takes pretty much the whole school career for Japanese kids to learn how to write their own language properly!
Danish does sound weird, doesn't it? I've got family in Denmark and since they live so close to the border of Germany they are taught German in school. They do share some similarities. I guess it's because they are both part of the Germanic languages, which includes English, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic. Sorry, not here to force knowledge into your brain.
Hm, that might actually work, I think. Because the easiest way to memorise something is to create something interesting enough to actually remember it. But to learn and remember all the characters in two months, you'd probably have to be really smart, or very interested in learning. But that's insane, though. They have to spend so much time to learn their own language.