Dummy Subjects

As you learned in lesson #3: "The subject always comes first."

However, there are, occasionally, times when we don't want to put the subject first. (We will discuss the reasons for this in class). In these cases, we can open the sentence with a "dummy subject." (A "dummy" is something that is fake or false; in this context, we don't mean "stupid.")

Dummy subjects are easy to recognize because the dummy subject is almost always a variation of "There is" or "It is". In fact, anytime you see a sentence that begins with with the words "There" or "It", you can safely conclude that the sentence falls into the "dummy subject" category. (In truth, there are some exceptions to this rule, but we are not going to worry about that now).

Study the following examples of the dummy subject pattern.

Dummy Subject

the rest of the sentence


is a house.
It is important to always take notes.


For More Advanced Learners

Okay, so you want a more detailed explanation? Here it is:

It is important to pay attention when you encounter the words "there" and "it", because they don't always serve as dummy subjects.

The word "there" has several meanings/functions.

Consider the following sentences. What do you make of them?

Similarly, the word "it" has several meanings/functions.

Consider the following sentences: