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A lady is serving tea and another lady at the table sees the pot and says:

"A: Oh, tea in a pot. There is posh."

"B: I hate bags in cups." Coronation Street (see: 6:36-6:43)

As far as I know, posh is an adjective, posh restaurant, posh things etc. So, "There is posh." sounds unusual to me, at least grammatically.

Shouldn't it be "That is posh" or "That is a posh pot."?

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  • It's not the pot that is 'posh', but the practice of using one rather than pouring boiling water over a tea bag in a mug. Commented Jul 1 at 7:46
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    It's "There's posh". It means "That's posh" - referring to the act of brewing tea in a teapot. This is an example of dialect, common in some northern English varieties. You can forget standard English grammar here. Dialects in the UK often have non-standard grammar.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 1 at 8:37
  • what @BillyKerr said. Personally, I've always understood There's [ADJECTIVE] as being effectively a "truncated" from There's an example of [ADJ]. The historical usage chart for the one I'm most familiar with shows that in Victorian written sources, it was almost always There's gratitude for you, not That's gratitude for you. So it's hardly "dialectal" - more of a quirky linguistic hangover. Commented Jul 1 at 11:42
  • And this chart shows that we almost always use contracted There's in such contexts. I can only search 5 words at a time, and I suspect that most of the relatively small number of hits for uncontracted There is gratitude for are irrelevant partial matches (not followed by the word you). Commented Jul 1 at 11:49
  • ...note that "There's posh" is intended literally, but "There's gratitude" is always sarcastic (it means "That's an example of a complete lack of gratitude"). Commented Jul 1 at 12:04

1 Answer 1

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It is a common idiomatic construction, particularly in Welsh dialects of English, and in northern English dialects too.

You're correct that 'posh' is an adjective, but you'd see nothing unusual about saying "that is posh". Saying "there is posh" means the same.

A common saying in Wales is "there's lovely" to mean "that's lovely", or "that's nice". My northern English dad would often say "there's novel" when experiencing something new or 'novel'.

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    Agreed. It's relatively common in spoken English, especially when preceded by "Now", and it's usually said as "there's" rather than "there is". It started to make its way into written English in the 1960's.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jul 1 at 7:52
  • @JavaLatte, Is "there's" and "there is" pronounced differently in speech?
    – Yunus
    Commented Jul 1 at 8:22
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    @Yunus - Your question should have been: Are "there's" and "there is" pronounced differently in speech? Commented Jul 1 at 9:08
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    @Yunus - 'there is' is two words, with a pause in between. 'There's' is pronounced as if it was one word, 'therez'. Shortenings - I'm, he's, you're, etc, are pronounced differently from the original long form. That's how we know they are shorter! Commented Jul 1 at 11:45
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    We find the words of praise to a child "There's a good boy!" in the mid 18th century, and "there's" a couple of hundred years before in early modern English. The contraction isn't recent.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 1 at 14:16

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