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Which sentence sounds better? I suppose the second one is better. Do we really need to use “there are” in this context, or is it unnecessary?

There are teaching aids such as books and videos in our library.

In our library are teaching aids, such as books and videos.

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    It's always best to go for: Subject Verb Object in English. Your second sentence needs help. Our library has teaching aids such as books and videos.
    – Lambie
    Nov 7, 2021 at 13:43
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    The "default" sequence in English is Subject+Verb, so that's Teaching aids [such as books and videos] are in our library. But we also commonly use the introductory construction There is/are... (where "there" is a kind of "indefinite pronoun" representing the actual subject immediately following the verb is/are). Your second version is a kind of stylised literary inversion ("fronting" adverbial in our library, and optionally "deleting" the dummy pronoun there) - people wouldn't often use that form in conversation (particularly with deleted there). Nov 7, 2021 at 13:53
  • @FumbleFingers Really? "Our library has x" would be just as likely.
    – Lambie
    Nov 7, 2021 at 14:15
  • @Lambie: I don't deny it. I wasn't commenting by way of contradicting yours - it's just that I started writing a similar comment at the same time as you, but it so happened I chose to suggest a different "alternate phrasing" to yours. Nov 7, 2021 at 14:29
  • OK, I see. [longer]
    – Lambie
    Nov 7, 2021 at 14:53

1 Answer 1

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I'd go with the first, largely as a matter of style. In general, a simple sentence leads with the most important part of a subject.

So, the first example focusses on "teaching aids", telling the listener where to find them.

The second example would normally be seen as focusing on the library, and I'd expect subsequent sentences to discuss or contrast the library with something else, such as "In the classrooms, these teaching aids provide useful results."

As always, simple does not always hold. A more complicated sentence can lead with the less important subject in order to reach a larger conclusion. But that's a story for another time.

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