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Learning English - The Flatmates
The Flatmates
Archive Language Point 92

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There and It

Tim and Khalid in the park


We use there when we introduce an idea, talk about something for the first time or to say that something exists. In episode 92 of The Flatmates, Tim says:

"there's an old saying"

to introduce what he's about to talk about.

More examples:

There's no time, I'm late as it is, bye!
There might be a new cafe opening up on the High Street.
He didn't like living here. He said there was too much traffic and too much pollution.

There also means to, at or in a particular place.

I need to get there as soon as possible.
Have you seen that new cafe? Fancy going there for a coffee?
He wanted to move to the countryside because it was quieter there.


We use it to talk about a specific place, thing, animal or situation. In episode 92 of The Flatmates, Khalid should have said:

"It's going well" (It's = settling in to the flat)

More examples:
I was late yesterday. It was because my alarm didn't go off. (it = my being late)
I tried that new cafe yesterday. It was really packed. (it = the cafe)
He wants to move to the countryside. It'll be much quieter there. (it = the countryside)

We can also use it to talk about distance, weather and time:
How far is it to your house?
It's hot today.
It was last June when I saw her.

We can use it with adjectives in a to + infinitive expression like:
It's great to live and work in New York.
It was fascinating to see these ancient buildings.

We usually begin these expressions with it, we don't usually put it towards the end of the sentence:

'It's bad for you to smoke cigarettes' sounds more natural than 'To smoke cigarettes is bad for you'.
'It was great that he finally got married' sounds more natural than 'That he finally got married was great'.

We can also use it to introduce a for + infinitive expression like:

It's important for you to watch me, if you want to learn the dance steps.
It will be good for her to have a break. She's been working too hard.

Comparing There and It

She grew up in a small village. There were a lot of farms near her house. It was a very peaceful place to live.

He works in a huge hospital. It's a very stressful job. There are lots of emergencies he has to deal with there.


footy (informal)
short for 'football'

get something by persuading someone or by doing something clever

put my foot in it (informal)
say something you didn't mean to say which upsets or embarrasses someone

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