What is the subject in this sentence?

There is no form to reject.

And what type of sentence is this?

  • No form is your subject (it's a dummy there).
    – fev
    Sep 22 at 14:06
  • This kind of question is more appropriate for English Language Learners. Also, when you ask it there, you should add a lot more detail especially what you already know about things, what you think the subject is (or why it is hard to figure out what it is for you).
    – Mitch
    Sep 22 at 14:09
  • The sentence is seen as being derived from 'No form is to reject' (think 'No form exists to reject') where 'No form' is clearly the subject. Most analysts see it better to retain 'no form' as being the subject even when the form of the rephrase, using existential 'there' as a 'dummy subject' (English often prefers to shift weight towards the back of a sentence), would suggest otherwise. Sep 22 at 14:15
  • But there are other tests for subjecthood that there passes and the extraposed NP doesn't. Subject-Raising, for instance. There-insertion is a complex case and should have an answer here. For instance, this one. Sep 22 at 14:37
  • (And, by the way, it should be the sentence below, not *the below sentence) Sep 22 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


There is an "expletive subject".

It is a bit like the word "it" in the sentence "It is raining". So what is "it"? It is a placeholder with no essential meaning, called an "expletive subject" or "pleonastic subject".

You will find out more about the expletive subject at English Language & Usage

  • I'm more familiar with the term "dummy subject", but "expletive" checks out. Is that linguistics terminology?
    – gotube
    Sep 22 at 18:27
  • @gotube Well - I'm certainly no authority on linguistics - I'm just a plain old native speaker. But if you look at the link I included you may find out a lot more.
    – WS2
    Sep 22 at 19:24

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