I was checking grammatical mistakes in an English article translated from Chinese.

The article is about free trade agreement, and I saw a sentence go like this:

"USA, Japan, and Canada will be used as examples to analyze if there appeared certain influence from TPP and the reasons why TPP did not cause any impact to them."

Another sentence in the article goes:

"USA is also a TPP country, but Canada’s import from USA did not show obvious changes caused by TPP. There appeared no sign that the metal industry had been influenced by the formation of TPP."

I get that "There appear + Noun" might stem from a similar structure as "There goes the boy", but somehow I feel "There appear + Noun" is rarely used and might sound strange. When I googled, I found "It appears to be + Noun/Adjective " or "Noun appears to be + Noun/Adjective" is a more common way to use.

Would anyone tell me how you feel about "There appear + Noun"? Is that native English or just an alien makeup phrase?

  • 3
    The meaning of "There appeared" is quite different from "It appeared to be". The first is an existential construction. P.S. We almost always use the before USA. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 9:02
  • Thanks, CopperKettle :-) Does that mean "There appeared" is commonly used and is native English?
    – Dean
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 9:13
  • You're welcome! Yes, it is in common use and there's nothing alien about it. (0: Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 9:19
  • 2
    @CopperKettle The first isn't technically existential - unless it is There appeared to be .... It's what we call a presentational construction. Compare There appears to be a misunderstanding and There appeared in the doorway a tall, menacing highwayman. They're similar, but not the same! ;) Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 10:22
  • 1
    @TRomano However, if we use the other sense of appear as in A genie appeared in the doorway, then we don't use the verb BE if we use a presentational construction. The only verb we need is APPEAR; this verb has real meaning on its own: There appeared in the doorway a genie. Notice that there is only one clause/verb here, unlike with the other construction. Now the OP's examples are trying to use the presentational structure but with the SEEM /raising sense of APPEAR. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


I feel "There appear + Noun" is rarely used and might sound strange.

You are incorrect.

Even though that phrase is not rarely used, I would say that by convention "There appeared ..." is generally followed be "to be". I think the text is not perfectly translated and that the correct way of writing these particular phrases that you highlighted in bold are as follows:

if there appeared to be certain influence


There appeared to be no sign



However, this does not mean that "There appeared + Noun/Adjective" is rarely used, nor does it necessarily sound strange when it is used correctly. Bear in mind these valid examples (the first two were also mentioned in the comments):

There appeared in the doorway a genie.

There appeared in the doorway a tall, menacing highwayman.

I appeared as if from nowhere.

It would appear that there was no one at the front door.

There appeared, somehow, to be another room in the house.

Bottom Line

"There appeared + Noun/Adjective" can be used correctly in certain circumstances, but most of the time it tends to be followed by "to be".

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