Expletive noun phrase
Expletive is a grammatical element having no semantic content and occurring in theta-bar positions.
there in (i) and it in (ii) are expletives.
(i) There is a man in the room (ii) It seems that John is ill
This usage seems to date only from the 1970s.
- Chomsky, N. 1993. A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory, MIT occasional papers in linguistics, 1-67. Reprinted in: Chomsky (1995).
- Chomsky, N. 1986a. Knowledge of language: its nature, origin and use, Praeger, New York.
- Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.