Grammar: There is / There are

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In English grammar, the correct use of "there is" and "there are" is crucial for indicating the existence or presence of something. This rule is consistently followed in both British and American English. Here's a simple guide to understanding when to use "there is" and "there are":

  • What are "There is" and "There are"?: "There is" and "there are" are phrases used to state that something exists or is present in a specific location or context.

  • Using "There is": "There is" is used when referring to a singular noun or an uncountable noun. It indicates that one item or something uncountable is present. For example, "There is a book on the table" or "There is water in the bottle."

  • Using "There are": In contrast, "there are" is used with plural nouns, indicating the presence of more than one item. For example, "There are three apples in the basket" or "There are many people at the concert."

  • Questions and Negatives: These phrases can also be used in questions and negative forms. For example, "Is there a problem?" and "There isn't any milk left." Or, "Are there any cookies in the jar?" and "There aren't any cars in the parking lot."

  • Usage in Various Contexts: "There is" and "there are" are commonly used in various contexts, such as describing a scene, stating facts, or in everyday conversation to point out the presence or existence of something.

  • Contractions and Informal Speech: In informal speech, contractions are often used with these phrases. "There's" is a contraction for "there is," and "there're" (less commonly used) is for "there are." For example, "There's a party tonight" or "There're two cats under the tree."

Understanding the difference between "there is" and "there are" is essential for conveying accurate information about the number and presence of subjects in both spoken and written English. This distinction helps in creating clear and grammatically correct sentences.