Existential 'there' works as a dummy subject. And, 'there' is also an adverb of place.

So, in a situation when I need to use them together it is considered correct or needs rewording to sound natural.

Ex- 1.There was a cat there. (Here listener is expected to know the place where the cat was so the speaker choose to replace it with 'there' and speaker wants to emphasise the cat's existence too).

Or, just writing 'A cat was there' will work?

  • 1
    In modern grammar, locative "there" is classified as a preposition, not an adverb.
    – BillJ
    Jun 9, 2022 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


Yes. Using both types of "there" in the same sentence is acceptable to both native and educated speakers and not redundant.

"A cat was there" is grammatically valid, but it shifts the statement into the active voice, which is unusual for a sentence like this (it's a nonspecific cat in a nondescript location, so why is it the subject?). The ability to place the emphasis on the appropriate part of the sentence is why we have existential there in the first place.


There was a cat there sounds 100% natural to me.

A cat was there. is grammatical, but less natural, so I would expect it to have some particular connotation: perhaps that the information is surprising, or perhaps somebody has denied that there was a cat there.

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