There is the car! - pointing at the car! There means at that place.

But can

"There is a car!"

be used as pointing at a car? I think it shouldn't. It should be "There is a car OVER THERE".

But what do natives think?

  • Yes. It's absolutely fine to say "There is a car" when pointing at a car. You can add "over there", but it's optional.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 1 at 7:29
  • 1
    In your first example, "there" is a locative preposition used deictically (by pointing). "There is a car" can be used the same way. In your alternant "There is a car over there", the first "there" is an existential subject and the second "there" is locative. Prepositions in all cases.
    – BillJ
    Sep 1 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


There is semantic ambiguity in the sentence "There is a car". It is most likely to be the existential sense "A car exists". It could be the locative sense "A car is located there". Or a dual meaning "A car exists and is located there".

You could use it while pointing, with your body language providing additional context to interpret the words and resolve the ambiguity. In actual conversations you are unlikely to say "There is a car" to mean "a car is located over there" without some context, and there's probably a better way to express this concept.

  • 1
    To my ears, "there is a car" while pointing would sound a bit strange if that was the whole sentence, but it would be totally normal to use this construction several times in succession (e.g. "there is the dining room, there is the kitchen, ...") while pointing each thing out, and it would even be strange to add "over there" to each part.
    – kaya3
    Sep 1 at 18:27

Yes, it could be used while pointing at a car. Consider this exchange:

Person 1: "We could scavenge parts from a car, if only we could find one."

Person 2: "There is a car!" (pointing)

To my American ears, it seems much more likely that this would be abbreviated to "There's a car!" than actually expressed as "There is a car!". The latter would be more likely in the existential sense "A car exists", such as "There is a car that gets 60 miles per gallon", or in a narrative, like "You are in a cluttered garage. Dust hangs in the air. There is a car."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .