In everyday language, expletive refers to a curse word or swear word. But, expletive has another meaning related to grammatical construction.
An expletive sentence begins with empty words like "it is," "there are," "here is." These words are "empty" words that don't change the meaning of the sentence.
Examples of Expletive Sentences:
There are four cats hiding under that bush.
Here is the professor of my new class.
It is a sad day when the Internet stops working.
Examples of Expletive Sentences in Literature and Culture:
The opening line of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
The opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness."
From The Wizard of Oz: "There's no place like home."
From Toy Story: "There's a snake in my boot."
From a nursery rhyme: "There's a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza. There's a hole in the bucket . . . "
Literary Terms Examples