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For example, I've recently read this:

Basically, Homer just had a lot of fun hanging out with gay men, and drinking in bars, and dancing at discos, and all that, and there was nothing – there was no commentary there.

Why did the author use "there" twice? Is this necessary? Is there a rule about this situation?

source

  • The two 'there' words mean different things - the first is part of a phrase 'there was', and the second is referring to a place. I looked in the kitchen; there was no meat there. – Michael Harvey Oct 5 '19 at 14:51
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"There is no commentary there". The first "there" is part of a phrase "there was"; the second "there" is referring to a script. I looked in the kitchen; there was no bread there.

A bigger quote might help. There was no commentary (social comment, a trademark of 'The Simpsons') there (in the script Harvey Fierstein is talking about, which had been suggested for an episode of the show).

“Years later they contacted me when they wanted Carl to return. But I didn’t really like their approach. It had nothing to do with my character. Homer and Marge have a fight, and she throws him out and he has no place to stay, and he runs into Carl, who sets him up with a pair of gay men. All they needed me for was to introduce him to these gay guys. But the script was basically just a lot of very clever gay jokes, and there wasn’t that Simpsons twist. Jim Brooks and Matt Groening and those writers have always added that extra something beneath the surface, and it just wasn’t there. Basically, Homer just had a lot of fun hanging out with gay men, and drinking in bars, and dancing at discos, and all that, and there was nothing – there was no commentary there. Every restaurant had a silly gay name. They gym had a silly gay name. They were all double entendres, obviously. And I said, “Anybody could do this. You’re the fucking Simpsons. Do something we have never seen before.”

Article at Dead Homer Society

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  • I looked in the kitchen; there was no bread there. Do I correctly understand that the first "there was" is referring to "the kitchen" and the second "there" is referring to "bread"? – Replica Foxtrot Oct 5 '19 at 15:11
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    You do not correctly understand. The first 'there' is a dummy subject. There operates as a dummy subject in the constructions 'there is' and 'there are'. They indicate that something or someone exists or is in a particular place or situation. The second 'there' refers to the kitchen. – Michael Harvey Oct 5 '19 at 15:23
  • Yeah, well, good explanation. – Replica Foxtrot Oct 5 '19 at 15:30
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In this sentence, the way in which "there" is used is different both times.

"There is no commentary there".

  • The first "there" is is referring to the commentary in question.
  • The second "there" is talking about the general situation; the content of the sentence before.

So no, there isn't any specific rule here, it's just what the writer is trying to convey. It could have also read "there is no commentary here" and it would mean the same thing.

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