Could you explain which sentence sounds better or they're both good? I know how popular is the form "there is" in English and I suggest that the second sentence sounds better. Am I right? (I saw the first sentence in my self-study book and I had some surprise.)

Jessica isn't here.

There isn’t Jessica here.


  • 3
    Your second version is completely non-idiomatic. It is idiomatic to say There's no XXX here where XXX is an "inanimate" (usually, "non-countable") noun, such as There's no space / light / danger here. But there's also There's no Jessica here, which you might get as a reply if you phone somewhere and ask to speak to Jessica (where no Jessica is a "stylised / reduced" version of no person called Jessica). Jun 9, 2020 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


The first sentence implies that Jessica could be expected to be in that location.

The second sentence, as written, is ungrammatical. The more correct expression would be 'There isn't a Jessica here'. This kind of statement would be used when somoene asks for a person who isn't known to the people in a space. Consider the following example:

A man knocks on the door of a house. When you open the door, he asks, "Could I speak to Jessica?"

You do not know a single Jessica. You don't know who that person could be referring to. You could reply with, "There isn't a Jessica here."

  • For me at least, "There is no Jessica here," is the more idiomatic form. Jun 9, 2020 at 14:03
  • @kaipmdh, is it necessary to use "a" before the name? "There isn't a Jessica here." Why?
    – Sergei
    Jun 9, 2020 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Sergey: You don't know which Jessica the other person is talking about, so you use an indefinite article. You might read it as "any person named Jessica." If you use the zero article, it implies you are talking about a specific person named Jessica.
    – Kevin
    Jun 9, 2020 at 18:34
  • 1
    that would also require a change in sentence structure as if you knew the Jessica referenced by the other person, she would become the subject of the sentence, therefore "Jessica isn't here."
    – kaipmdh
    Jun 10, 2020 at 8:58

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