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View Full Version : English: "there were no place" or "there was no place"



evolex
22-05-2013, 17:02
Hey there.

Classically it seems to be that it is correct to say "there was no place" for singular "place".

But google statisics is somehow confusing:

313 000 000 for "there were no place"

and

108 000 000 for "there was no place"

do i miss anything here?

Thanks in advance.
Sergey.

AstarD
22-05-2013, 17:08
Place is singular in your example.

There was no place (to sit, for my bags, etc.). There were no places (that I hadn't been to, remaining on the parterre, etc.)

TolkoRaz
22-05-2013, 18:33
There is no place like home! :)

touchstone
22-05-2013, 19:50
'Place' is singular, and - even if being used as an uncountable noun! - it requires the singular verb form:

"There was no place".

Of course, you could also write 'places' (if you're not talking about пространство. but, for example, numbered seats in a cinema. But in that case, you would need a plural verb form:

"There were no places".

So you're not missing anything here :) You find the correct singular form in popular phrases and songs, like "There's no place like New York", or "There's no place like home" :verycool:

evolex
23-05-2013, 00:29
Thanks all! )

touchstone answer is the most complete one as for now ) two thanks for you )

are there any ideas about the google results?

AstarD
23-05-2013, 10:31
All kinds of people use Google. Not only native speakers of English.

Hans.KK
23-05-2013, 10:45
are there any ideas about the google results?
The English language is probably the most abused language in this world, both in speech and in writing form, Google just reflects this fact.

It's like statistics, it is not lying, but it do not always tells you the truth

okiey
23-05-2013, 13:32
A case of Yorkshire English:)



Hey there.

Classically it seems to be that it is correct to say "there was no place" for singular "place".

But google statisics is somehow confusing:

313 000 000 for "there were no place"

and

108 000 000 for "there was no place"

do i miss anything here?

Thanks in advance.
Sergey.

swampwiz
12-06-2013, 23:55
Both uses are not only acceptable, but are proper, depending on the context. The subjunctive mood imperfect tense (aka subjunctive past tense) and the indicative mood past tense are the same for every verb except 'be', and even then only for the subject being 1st or 3rd person, singular, since the indicative past for that is 'was', while the subjunctive imperfect (for the subject being any person) is 'were'. Thus, both forms are correct, provided that they are used per the proper mood.

So what are the indicative & subjunctive moods? The best way to think about them is that the indicative is for real actions, or for possible actions that are considered reasonably likely to happen.

The subjunctive moods are generally for unreal actions, with there being 3 submoods:

> optative - this is for an action that is used in a wish statement (with the only verb as far as I can tell that uses it being 'wish').

"I wish there were no place for criminals to be welcome."

> hypothetical - this is for an action that serves as the proposition action that would imply a result, and is used in hypothetical (aka unreal) conditional statements.

"If there were no place for criminals to go, they would continue to harass us."

> mandative - this is for a demanded action, and like the imperative mood, does not have a tense, although it is referred to a the present tense since it is the nominal inflection of the verb (and which for eery every except 'be' matches the indicative present for the subject not being 3rd person simgular.

"I order that there be no place for criminals in out society."

The indicative past describes an action that has definitely happened.

"There was no place for us to sit at the party."

"There were no places for us to sit at the party."

However, there is a type of conditional statement in which the 2nd person (the person being communicated to) believes that an action has taken place, but that the 1st person believes did not happen, and is providing counter-factual evidence (from the 2nd person's point of view) for the 2nd person to rebut

"If there was no place for you to park, then how did you get here so quickly?"

Now with all this said, many native English speakers just consider the subjunctive imperfect to be same as the indicative past (i.e., they do not even realize that they are using a different mood, and just think that any optative or hypothetical conditional statement just uses the indicative past), which as I had mentioned earlier is true for every verb & person except 'be' for the 1st & 3rd person singular. English linguists think that eventually this will be incorporated as being the standard. As it stands, some professional writers even do this. Song lyrics, especially blues (and sometimes pop rock) type of songs, almost always do this to try and mimic the standard grammar of the African-American, which does this.

My personal opinion is that any native speaker who does this (aside from writing a song that doe it for effect, as noted) shows a lesser level of education.

Hope this helps!

P.S. The level of Google hits is in no way indicative of any proper use of language, as hits could be multiplied many times for ay number of reasons!