What are expletives in the grammar of fiction? – by Louise Harnby…

Want to use grammatical expletives in your fiction? These words serve as place holders or fillers in a sentence. They shift emphasis and can affect rhythm. Used injudiciously, however, they can be cluttering tension-wreckers. Here’s how to strike a balance.

Because expletives shift emphasis, they have a syntactic function. However, they don’t in themselves contribute anything to our understanding of the sentence. In other words, they don’t have a semantic role. You might also see them called syntactic expletives.

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