The existential ‘yǒu’ sentence pattern: ‘NPloc (Reference object) + yǒu + Located object’ In this pattern, the sentence-initial position is occupied by the NP denoting reference object or place, this means the NP of place takes on the function of topic. As topic, it must be definite, namely, it conveys known information both to the speaker and the hearer, or the position or place is known to them both. The verb ‘yǒu’ expresses the meaning of existence. The located object, because of its end position, must be indefinite, or it conveys new information to the hearer. Thus the sentence pattern starts out with a known locative NP as the topic and proceeds with the comment about what is to be found in the place. The communicative function of the sentence pattern is to tell the hearer what there is in the reference object or the place. The reference object is often expressed by a locative NP, which can be different kinds of NPs, as shown:
Fùjìn yǒu yījiā yīyuàn.
(There is a hospital nearby.)
Wūzi lǐbian hǎoxiàng yǒu rén.
(There seemed to be somebody in the room.)
Běijīng yǒu hěn duō míngshènggǔjì.
(There are many places of historic interest and scenic beauty in Beijing.)
Nǐmen nàr yǒu nóngmào shìchǎng ma？
(Are there any farmers’ markets in your place?)
The initial expressions representing the reference object or place are encoded by a noun phrase as ‘fùjìn’ (vicinity) and ‘Běijīng’ (Beijing), adverbial pronouns like ‘nǐmen nàr’ (you there), and compound position nouns, like ‘wūzi lǐbian’ (room inside). They represent ‘given’ information, or the referents they refer to are known to the hearer. The located objects convey new information, as proved by their indefinite identity expressed by indefinite nouns marked by ‘yī’ (one) and ‘hěn duō’ (many). The existence ‘yǒu’ sentence pattern is based on the Chinese conceptual Principle of Container-Before-Contained (Hu, 1995), the reference object is regarded as a container, and the located object, which is unknown or represents new information to the hearer, is the content contained by the container―the reference object.
 Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.