Deeper Dive: there

Word Story Text

Function word. Light on meaning.
“used to show that something exists or happens”
But required in many expressions.

There's a restaurant around the corner.
There are two people waiting outside.
Has there been an accident?

There’s no there there.

We aren’t taught these uses of the word THERE; we pick them up through hearing and using
language. It takes a lot of language experience to learn these patterns. They are hard
for English Language Learners, and people who learn English as a second language.

Beginning readers will know some of these uses of THERE but are still learning many others.
This illustrates that children are continuing to learn about spoken language while they are learning to read.

What about spelling and pronunciation? THERE is challenging because the -ERE has three pronunciations:
Where friends

Here enemy 1

Were enemy 2
These are all very common, high frequency words that can’t be ignored for very long.

How is a new reader who is learning there along with here and were going to remember how it is pronounced?

This could be a good place for a mnemonic. Mnemonic devices are ways to memory tricks. A mnemonic for THERE would give the child a way to remember how it is pronounced. Maybe something like:

There is where the air is fair.

Care bear over there.


Something that is more relevant and more memorable for students in your classroom.
The menomic has to be easy to remember, so make it funny, or use a phrase your students know or would find interesting. Your mnemonic can be more memorable than my examples.





There is no substitute for hard work.” Thomas A Edison


Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me
An loving me tonight”.
Somewhere out There by James Ingram

out there

over there

up there

all there

get there

there adverb [OE. ther, AS. ðǣr; akin to D. daar, G. da, OHG. dār, Sw. & Dan. der, Icel. & Goth. þar, Skr. tarhi then, and E. that. √184. See That, pronoun]

1. In or at that place.
“[They] there left me and my man, both bound together.” Shak.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Ge. ii. 8.
☞ In distinction from here, there usually signifies a place farther off.
“Darkness there might well seem twilight here.” Milton
2. In that matter, relation, etc.; at that point, stage, etc., regarded as a distinct place; as, he did not stop there, but continued his speech.
The law that theaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy. Shak.
3. To or into that place; thither.
The rarest that e'er came there. Shak.
There is sometimes used by way of exclamation, calling the attention to something, especially to something distant; as, there, there! see there! look there! There is often used as an expletive, and in this use, when it introduces a sentence or clause, the verb precedes its subject.
A knight there was, and that a worthy man. Chaucer.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth. Job xxviii. 7.

Wherever there is a sense or perception, there some idea is actually produced. Locke.

There have been that have delivered themselves from their ills by their good fortune or virtue. Suckling.
There is much used in composition, and often has the sense of a pronoun. See Thereabout, Thereafter, Therefrom, etc. ☞ There was formerly used in the sense of where.
Spend their good there it is reasonable. Chaucer.
Here and there
in one place and another.
Syn. – See Thither.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

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