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I saw this sentence from Albert Camus yesterday and was thinking whats the meaning of "there"here and why the translator didn't put "lays" instead of "lay". It seems there is a point behind this and not simply a typing mistake, isn't it so?

  • 1
    Very simple: lie, lay, lain. Lay is past tense. – Lambie Nov 8 '16 at 15:44

This is correct.

  • There in this sentence is the same 'dummy' subject used in the "existential" construction there is—this construction may be used with many verbs signifying a state of presence or existence, or entry into that state, such as stand, appear, seem, flourish, arise, come, arrive

  • Lay here is not an infinitive but the past-tense form of lie.

...which has nothing to do with the fact that Camus was an existentialist writer

  • Yes, that's right: lie, lay, lain. – Lambie Nov 8 '16 at 15:45

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