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There is and there are

What’s the difference between there is and there are? Depending on whether a singular or plural noun follows, we use ‘there is’ for singular nouns and ‘there are’ for plural nouns. Most natives will use the singular version ‘there is’ even with plural nouns, although this is actually incorrect and should only be used in informal speech. Do try to use the two forms correctly, for singular and plural nouns. Complete explanations with examples on there is or there are to follow:

We use there is and there are to say that someone or something exists or is somewhere. We use them before the subject, or as a preparatory subject. For instance, it’s not correct to say; ‘a lot of people here’ or ‘they are a lot of people here’. The correct form would be ‘There are a lot of people here’.

 

(1) There is: used with singular nouns
  • There is a new boy joining our class today.
  • I was told that there is an eclipse tonight at 20:00h.
  • There is a fantastic new book out from Isaac Asimov.

 

(2) There are: used with plural nouns
  • There are too many people in the centre, I don’t enjoy large crowds.
  • I’m not sure if there are any police around here.
  • There are going to be many new visitors and new faces at the book club.

 

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