This is a sentence from a text book:

There's a parcel come for you.

I think it should be

There's a parcel has come for you.

Am I wrong?


I know in some cases be-perfect is still used today, for example:

I'm finished.

My first example will be grammatical, if be-perfect is permissible as Victor Bazarov suggested.

But, does it sound natural for native speakers?


I've tried a google book search using "There's a parcel come for you". I got five hits. One of them, a playscript from Classworks Fiction and Poetry Year 4 By Eileen Jones published in 2004, seems to be in a modern situation.

[Pause: Music]
LILY ROSE:[calling] Kate! Kate Ruggles! Kate! Mum wants you.
KATE: Com - ing, Lily Rose.
MUM: There's - a - parcel - come - for - you - wherever - have - you - been -to?
KATE: A parcel... for me?
LILY ROSE: Oh open it - go on - do - quick!

Maulik V and Kaz pointed out that "that (or which)" cannot be omitted in "There's a parcel (that) has come for you". It is mentioned in CGEL:

i It was my father [_did most of the talking]. [it-cleft]
ii There's someone at the door [_wants to talk to you]. [existential]

The status of [i-ii], where the relative clause functions within an it-cleft and existential construction respectively, is less certain: they fall at the boundary between very informal and non-standard.

But in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language Longman 1985:

There's something (that) keeps upsetting him. [ 1 ]

It is interesting that the relative pronoun that in the 'annex' clause of [I] can be omitted (especially in informal usage) even when it is subject of the relative clause; something not permissible according to the normal rule for relative clause formation.

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    @MaulikV Hmm, you can't say The parcel has come for you because the identity of the parcel is not clear. Arguably the OP's example is better than the alternative A parcel has come for you for many linguistic reasons (mostly to do with information packaging). – Araucaria - Not here any more. Oct 19 '15 at 9:49
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    +1 Nice question! I wonder if you'll get a good answer about why your second examples not good ...? – Araucaria - Not here any more. Oct 19 '15 at 9:50
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    @MaulikV No, if we don't know that the listener's expecting a parcel we could never say "The parcel has come for you". The use of the definite article directs the listener to pick out some parcel that they already know about. So if they don't know about one, your example's not felicitous. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Oct 19 '15 at 9:53
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    @MaulikV This is confusing. I'd like to suggest avoiding using the mod power to edit your comments after the fact, except of course for typos. Araucaria comments are useful and even enlightening. Your edit corrupts the flow. It could've been better if you simply added that you were wrong and told the reader to read Araucaria below (your first comment above). IMHO, it could be even better if you consider refraining from posting your comments when you are not sure. – Damkerng T. Oct 19 '15 at 15:54
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    @MaulikV Thanks for the fix! About the commenting instead of answering, I think that's the very point why we should try to avoid answering in comments. Comments can't be downvoted, so incorrect and misleading information could be left around without anyone noticing it. If you're not sure about your answers but want to help, it'd be better to hedge your opinions. For example, "The second one is ungrammatical. Also, the first can be written in a better way. I'd say: ..." No hedging at all. Compare: "I'm pretty sure the second is ungrammatical, and though I don't know the answer I think I'd ..." – Damkerng T. Oct 20 '15 at 7:40

Your sentence #1 is unusual, but not actually unacceptable. But it is tending to be unacceptable.

Your sentence #2 is wrong.

In this context a noun phrase is being post-modified. It's being post modified by either a relative construction or using verb-ing or verb past participle

1. The train that arrived at station no. 4 is due to start in 15 minutes.

That arrived at station no. 4 is a restrictive relative clause, with a relative pronoun that at its head. The noun train is an antecedent for the relative pronoun, that in turn acts as the subject of the relative construction. The relative clause is giving some information to the train - post-modification.

2. We are going to board the train arriving at station no. 4.

arriving at station no. 4 is postmodifying the noun phrase - the train. It has a corresponding relative construction -

2.1. We are going to board the train that is arriving at station no. 4.

But sentence #2 and #2.1 are of different constructions. It's not right to think sentence #2 as a shortened form of sentence #2.1 with that is part omitted.

3. He went to the church said to date from the 14th century.

The noun phrase - the church - is being post modified by said to date from the 14th century. You see with the construction postmodifying the noun phrase there is a corresponding passive construction - The church is said to date from the 14th century. And hence with such constructions not all verbs can occur. Generally intransitive verbs can't occur in such construction for the simple reason that they don't take part in passive constructions.

Like the above this sentence also has a corresponding relative construction -

3.1. He went to the church that is said to date from the 14th century.

Sentence #3 and #3.1 are of different constructions. It's not right to think sentence #3 as a shortened form of sentence #3.1 with that is part omitted.

Your sentence #1 is unusual for two reasons -

There is a parcel come for you. [UNUSUAL]

First, because of the verb come that is an intransitive verb, and that can't take part in passive construction. Hence there is no corresponding passive construction for come for you.

Second, it's wrong to consider this sentence having elliptical structure with that has omitted before come for you. As said earlier, both are not the same constructions.

Your second sentence is wrong -

There is a parcel has come for you. [INCORRECT]

In sentences like this that is called existential it's wrong to omit the relative pronoun when especially the relative pronoun is the subject of the relative clause. For the same reason your second sentence is also wrong -

There is a parcel that has come for you. [CORRECT]

| improve this answer | |
  • Historically, "be" was used as a perfect auxiliary along with "have" in English as is used in modern French and German as mentioned in the other answers. The problem is whether the particular expression "There's a parcel come for you" is still used at least some part of English speaking countries or not. As for the omission of "that" in existential sentences, see the quotes from two grammar books in my question. If you want to contribute something to the discussion, it would be better for you to read earlier answers (and the question) before posting your answer. – Aki Oct 27 '15 at 1:54
  • @Aki As per my understanding it's unusual not because of its being existential sentence without the relative pronoun which acts as the subject of the relative clause. If it were the case it might have been considered informal or only limited to some particular variant of English. However it's unusual because of the intransitive verb - come. – Man_From_India Oct 27 '15 at 14:45
  • As mentioned in my previous comment, "be" was used as a perfect auxiliary for some kind of intransitive verbs (unaccusative verbs) including "come" until Early Modern English stage. "The Lord is Come", "winter is come", and "I am finished" are the examples (of Kaz, Victor Bazarov, and me respectively) which show "be"-perfect is still used in some expressions till today. So, it is unusual in the sense that it is archaic, but that is not the point. Is "There's a parcel come for you" still used like the examples above? That is the problem. – Aki Oct 28 '15 at 1:27

In contemporary English, 'come' can't be used as an adjective.

It was so in the past, 'something is come' meant 'something has arrived'.

Nowadays, 'come' is almost strictly a verb, with rare exceptions of marking given date as "the nearest in the future", e.g. 'The movie will be released come spring." Nevertheless, the usage of 'something being come' is a completely dead expression only to be found in historical literature or emulation of archaic language.

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    My guess is that the old usage of "is come" is more to do with a different auxiliary verb for the past tense than it being used as an adjective per se - using "to be" as aux. for "to come" would match both French ("est arrivé" - "is arrived" - rather than "a arrivé" - "has arrived") and German ("ist gekommen" rather than "hat gekommen"). But "to be" has been superseded by "have" as auxiliary for all past tense verbs in English. – Jez W Oct 20 '15 at 13:37
  • "come" in "come spring" is not a past-participle. In CGEL, it is regarded as a preposition. It says "Come takes a future time expression as complement: Come the end of the year, we should be free of all these debts. Historically, this is a subjunctive clausal construction, with come a plain form verb and the end of the year its subject; synchronically, however, its function and internal structure are like those of a PP (compare by the end of the year), and it is plausible to suggest that come has been reanalysed as a preposition. " So, it is a bare form of "to come". – Aki Oct 20 '15 at 13:52
  • All I'm saying is that that's probably the reason why it was once used (and hence why you see "is come" in old texts), not that it's the standard today - and that it's likely an old usage of the verb, rather than an adjectival use. And "come" is the past participle of "to come" - "came" is the imperfect form - so the equivalent of "has arrived" is still "has come". – Jez W Oct 20 '15 at 14:02
  • @JezW: Indeed; "the plan has came to fruition", "the time has come", but currently things like "the parcel is arrive" is considered horrible grammar and nothing else. "There's a parcel come for you" is not an expression you'd hear in normal conversation nowadays. – SF. Oct 20 '15 at 14:03
  • @SF Yes, I agree with you fully, hence why I'm calling it an archaic usage - I was just trying to give a bit of linguistic context. I think we're talking across each other here. – Jez W Oct 20 '15 at 14:12

The sentence

There's a parcel come for you.

is grammatically correct. If we parse it, we see two main parts:

There is a parcel ...

which introduces "a parcel" as existing ("there is" means that something exists), and

... come for you.

in which the parcel is actually defined. The verb come here is in its Past Participle form, as you already recognized. Used like that it serves as an adjective, and expresses the completeness of the action (of "coming for you").

We can rewrite that sentence as

There's a parcel that is come for you.

The construct "that is" is simply omitted in your example sentence.

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    At the end, "that's" should be a contraction of "that has" rather than "that is". And I disagree that "There's a parcel come for you" is grammatically correct; if a past participle is used it needs the auxiliary "has". So the expanded form "a parcel that's come for you" or further expanded to "a parcel that has come for you" would be fine. – Jez W Oct 19 '15 at 15:54
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    Google "winter is come" (in quotes) to help you believe that "is" can be used here. – Victor Bazarov Oct 19 '15 at 16:09
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    "Winter is come" is an archaic usage. "Has come" is the standard in modern English. (cf. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/13222/he-is-come-john-168 for the same thing applied to the Biblical use of "He is come") – Jez W Oct 19 '15 at 16:14
  • @JezW: Whatever you think of the use of 'is', it doesn't make the original sentence less grammatical. – Victor Bazarov Oct 19 '15 at 16:16
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    Yes it does - just expand "there's". "There is a parcel come for you" would only have a chance of making sense if "come" was an adjective (which it isn't). "There has a parcel come for you" simply makes no sense. So it needs a relative clause ("that has come for you") to be grammatical. – Jez W Oct 19 '15 at 16:21

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