We use it when talking about the weather, time, measures and distance: It is very cold tonight.
It functions as an anticipatory subject for:
- an infinitive: It is nice to work with you.
- an -ing-form: It is good seeing you.
- a finite clause: It is astonishing that he refused the offer.
We use there plus a form of to be when in Norwegian we want to say that something exists or is. If we can replace ’det er/det var’ with ’det finnes/fantes’, we must use there is/was in English.
- There is a snake in my garden.
- There is a button on that machine which you can press.
- There are many people here who can neither read nor write.