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This is from a TED talks by Bryan Stevenson (https://www.ted.com/talks/bryan_stevenson_we_need_to_talk_about_an_injustice/transcript?referrer=playlist-the_pursuit_of_justice#t-679815).

He says:

"And yet, in this country, in the states of the Old South, we execute people -- where you're 11 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white than if the victim is black, 22 times more likely to get it if the defendant is black and the victim is white -- in the very states where there are buried in the ground the bodies of people who were lynched"

My question is..

What is a complement of "there are"?

Seems like the complement in the bold sentence is "the bodies of people who were lynched",

but then what is "buried in the ground" doing in this sentence? This part seems grammatically incorrect.

1 Answer 1

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The complement is indeed "the bodies of people who were lynched". "Buried in the ground" serves as extra information, added for emphasis.

Consider the following two ways in which you could also write this sentence, and the meaning should become clear.

... in the very states where there are, buried in the ground, the bodies of people who were lynched.

... in the very states where, buried in the ground, there are the bodies of people who were lynched.

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