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Recently I found this sentence:

On the bottom of the MetroCard are three arrows and little white letters that say "Insert this way/This side facing you."

This sentence is correct, but I do not understand why it is.

I thought an object of preposition can never be a subject. The object of preposition in the sentence is :

On the bottom of the MetroCard.

I think we should add "there" just after the object of preposition above to make the sentence correct, like this:

On the bottom of the MetroCard there are three arrows and little white letters that say "Insert this way/This side facing you."

May I know some grammar rules regarding this?

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    Hello, Arief.an. This is a question that it would be better to ask on our sister site, ELL. I'll give you the answer here this time. Look at a simpler but similar sentence: 'In the room was a man.' This is just a rearrangement of 'A man was in the room.' Prepositional phrases may be fronted the way the first variant shows. But the subject does not change; here it's still 'A man' (or 'a man' if it's placed after 'was'). // In my example, the prepositional phrase is 'In/in the room'. In yours, it's 'On the bottom of the MetroCard'. Mar 24, 2017 at 9:30
  • Hi sir Edwin. Thanks for the suggestion and your answer. So if the verbs are like 'is, are, was, were, etc,' then the sentence can be rearranged. On the other hand, i presume, the sentence like : 'on the bottom of the card looks neat.' is incorrect. Thanks.
    – Redsbefall
    Mar 24, 2017 at 9:41
  • The general question 'When may a prepositional phrase be moved to the start of a sentence?' is a lot more tricky than your single example, and you might like to ask it here, with a few examples you find on the internet. What verbs may follow the PP? ... I'll be back in a few days. (Y/N) They drove to Glasgow (iffy). But sometimes, just to add to the complexities, a prepositional phrase may be used as a subject (although this is fairly rare): 'Underneath the wardrobe is where I found it.' / 'After ten would be the best time to come.' Informally, 'In here looks promising' is idiomatic. Mar 24, 2017 at 10:18
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    Possible duplicate of Is there no subject in a sentence like "Under the tree is a dog"?
    – sumelic
    Mar 26, 2017 at 22:03
  • I'm gonna use the same example in a comment above. a) A man was in the room; b) A man was there; c) A man was there in the room are all valid sentences. So are a1) In the room was a man; b1) There was a man; c1a) In the room, there was a man; c1b) There in the room was a man. Note that b1) can be used in two different ways. Mar 28, 2017 at 13:06

1 Answer 1

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It is correct to say (as stated in the comments):

[Who] is [where]. -> The cup is here.

as well as:

[Where] is [who]. -> Here is the cup.

and they are both correct.


However, it sounds better to be to say:

On the bottom of the MetroCard there are three arrows

instead of:

On the bottom of the MetroCard are three arrows.


Also, I prefer:

There are three arrows on the bottom of the MetroCard

instead of:

Are three arrows on the bottom of the MetroCard

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