In this following context, what does the word 'there' mean? Is it 'existential there'? Should I take its actual sentence as: people who ...are found?


There are found people who are short-lived, and those that are long-lived; there are found people who are very sick, and those that are healthy; there are found people who are hideous, and those that are beautiful;

  • 1
    The word found is syntactically superfluous, so you should parse the text as if it wasn't there anyway. It just adds a little "emphasis" - a bit like saying There [do] exist people like that instead of There are such people. Mar 5, 2023 at 11:11
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    Remember to link to the source Collected Wheel Publications Volume XXVI
    – James K
    Mar 5, 2023 at 13:43
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    And note this is a translation of a saying from scripture, probably the 1926 Pali text society translation, So you may expect odd grammar (as a result of the age and the translations)
    – James K
    Mar 5, 2023 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


This construction is mildly literary or poetic, because it involves an inversion.

The unpacked, extremely cumbersome structure would be this passive one:

There are people who [are] found who are short-lived,...

This reveals that it's the usual "there" of "there are".

Note that the second [are] is ambiguous in tense due to the ellipsis. It could just as easily be rendered [can be], [have been], etc.

As FumbleFingers wrote, the meaning is the same as "There are people who..." except for the change in evidentiality, which in this case seems to only be included for style anyway.

  • ''people are seen to be short-lived and longlived, sickly and healthy, ugly an beautiful,...'' this is translation of original Text.
    – Sakya Kim
    Mar 5, 2023 at 14:16
  • @SakyaKim That wouldn't be exactly equivalent. A closer version would be "There are short-lived people and long-lived people, sickly people and healthy people, ugly people and beautiful people." The version you gave could be interpreted as the same people being both short- and long-lived, sickly and healthy, ugly and beautiful, which is not the intended meaning :) Mar 5, 2023 at 14:31
  • yes. This translation is not as the original Text, it is only interpretation. @Luke Sawczak.
    – Sakya Kim
    Mar 5, 2023 at 14:46
  • but the Text (pali word) gave passive voice as: people who are short-lived are seen(/found/seemed/appeared); people who are long-lived are seen;..
    – Sakya Kim
    Mar 5, 2023 at 14:58
  • @SakyaKim Ah, interesting. That's probably why the translator insisted on using 'found' here when it's not necessary to the English meaning. If that's the phrasing and it's natural in Pali, I would say the translation in the original question is a good one, even if it's a little hard to parse. In English 'people are seen to be short-lived' does not mean the same as 'people who are short-lived are seen'. Mar 5, 2023 at 15:50

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