In a major reference grammar book, I came across the following two constructions. Unfortunately, it did not mention the difference in meaning between them. I am wondering if there is any semantic difference between them?

  • In the school there is a swimming pool.

  • In the school is a swimming pool.

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  • 1
    None at all; the second uses a slightly more formal style, but 'There's a swimming pool at the school' is the usual conversational variant. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 13 '18 at 9:19
  • In this sort of use, there is a dummy and has no significance. It can stand there for improved readability or dropped for brevity. The first sounds more common and the second rather formal. – Kris Feb 13 '18 at 10:21
  • There is one slight difference, an ambiguity that might occur in some contexts. With "In the school there is a swimming pool" the word "there" could be referring to a specific location identified in prior context. Eg, "Look at the upper-right corner of the map. In the school there is a swimming pool." Yeah, it's lousy construction, but completely "legal". – Hot Licks Feb 13 '18 at 23:15
  • @HotLicks, yes, but if "in the school there" is a constituent with "there" at the end of that constituent, "there" would have higher stress and would probably be written with a comma after it. – Greg Lee Feb 14 '18 at 0:01

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