“Basically, expletive constructions are phrases or sentences that begin with “There are,” “There is,” “It is,” or “It was.” The verb “to be” is also part of many of these uninspired sentences. They are also called empty words.”

Expletive Deleted

What am? What are? What is? What be?
Why us? Why this? Why them? Why me?
Why grammar and ellipsis joined
In expletive constructions coined
To give appearance of a thought
Where none exists, a practice fraught
With opportunities for sound —
as “words” — to puzzle and confound.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2023