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Remove “There” and “It”

When Used with Forms of “to Be”

and Functioning as Subjects

This lesson will focus on eliminating “there” and “it” when used with forms of “to be” and functioning as subjects. These are called expletives. In this capacity, “their” and “it” have no definite meaning and make your sentence weak. When you remove them and put in more action, your sentences become stronger. Sometimes, you will need to add a clearer subject. Occasionally, you will find an instance where there isn’t another subject that will work. Look at these sentences.

  • There are two people who have written books about singing.
  • Two people have written books about singing.
  • There were six children playing in the sandbox.
  • Six children were playing in the sandbox.
  • There was a terrific turnout at the show.
  • The show had a terrific turnout.

We make sentences weaker when we add immaterial information. One particular phrase to avoid is “had __ that” or just “that __.” Take a look at the following sentences.

  • She has eyes that sparkle like diamonds.
  • Her eyes sparkle like diamonds.
  • He wrote songs that drove women crazy.
  • His songs drove women crazy.

It is not important that she had or that he wrote, what is important is her eyes and his songs.

Your Assignment

Using your first chapter and your find tool, look for “there” and “it.” You are looking for when these phrases are acting as a subject, so make sure you capitalize “there” and “it.” Choose the match case option for your search. Eliminate those phrases when possible and rewrite the sentences. You can also search for “had” and “that.” Again, keep in mind, not all uses of the words will warrant changes.

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