There was a loss of 36 billon.

I don't know how to explain the grammatical concept of this sentence. Can you kindly explain me? Please tell me the sentence pattern of this also.


1 Answer 1


This is called an existential clause in which the unstressed 'there' functions as the grammatical subject in spite of having no semantic content. It is one of the ways of packaging information in English. Existential clauses usually have a corresponding basic construction. For example:

There were some keys nears the safe. (Existential)

Some keys were near the safe. (Basic)

The noun phrase that corresponds to the subject in the basic position is called a displaced subject. Your sentence, however, has no corresponding basic construction. So we refer to it as a bare existential clause.

More info can be found in: Huddleston and Pullum, A Student Introduction to English Grammar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p249.

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