there were live rounds in the rifle

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there were live rounds in the rifle

Post by navi » Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:58 am

Can one use:
1) Live rounds were in the rifle.
instead of:
2) There were live rounds in the rifle.


Can one use:
3) Live rounds weren't in the rifle.
instead of:
4) There were not live rounds in the rifle.

I think '1' is fine, and '3' is strange, although they are both grammatical.

Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: there were live rounds in the rifle

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:22 pm

I could imagine 1) as part of a summary of preparations for a military engagement:

"The sniper took up his position at the window and placed the stock of his long-barrelled gun against his shoulder. He was in a good mood: he had just enjoyed a large bowl of goulash, and that morning his commanding officer had praised him in front of the others for his actions the day before. Live rounds were in the rifle, his scope was trained on the distant gap between the bushes where at any moment his victims would appear, and right now nothing else seemed to matter".

On the other hand, I find it difficult to envisage a circumstance for which you would use the wording of 3) rather than 4) (which needs to be corrected to "There were no live rounds in the rifle"), except perhaps to create a humorous effect.
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