i) What’s that over there?
ii) People can take their pets there.
iii) I believe one of the boys there thinks I'm pretty.
(All three are from COCA)
iv) Let’s go and see the pets there.

Does there function as an adjective in [iii]?
Over there in [i] seems to modify pronoun that; there in [ii] verb take. But in [iii], it is not that simple. Because I don’t find in dictionaries the word there is denoted as adjective, I hesitate to say there modifies the previous noun phrase. However it seems to functions like an adjective. In this case, do you say there functions as an adjective as a noun or adverb, or there is an omission, that is, is it the short form of ‘one of the boys who is there’?

Could there be read both adjective and adverb in [iv]?
When I add there in [iv], can it be interpreted ambiguous; that is, can there be read either an noun-modifier or adverbial adjunct?

1 Answer 1


I would not understand any of these theres as adverbials, and I would not understand any preposition phrase for which they might stand as adverbials either.

  • The theres i) and iii) are pro-locatives, adjectivals locating the head NP. These can all stand as complements to BE.

    What's that there/on the roof?
    The object is there/on the roof.

    I believe one of the boys there/at the table in the corner thinks I'm pretty.
    The boys are there/at the table in the corner.

  • There in ii) is a pro-directive, an object complement (rather than a modifier) of the verb take: it is the place where the pets end up as a result of the action of taking.

    People can take their pets there/to that park.
    When they do so, the pets are there/in that park.

  • iv) is, as you say, ambiguous, or perhaps ambivalent would be a better term: it could be taken to act both as the pro-directive subject complement of the verb go and as a pro-locative adjectival modifying pets. But it hardly matters, since either way it's the same place, and the same entities end up there!

  • Reading your answer, I remind reading in Random House “in or at that place”; “into or to that place”. Neither having majored English nor using it, nor study fully, I reiterate forgetting and reminding silly. Thank you.
    – Listenever
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 0:19

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