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Thread: There + be

  1. #1
    engee30's Avatar
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    Default There + be

    This is the first time I have posted anything to this site. Thank you for any help in advance.
    My question concerning the verb agreement is: which of the patterns below is/are correct?
    1. There is a bank and a church opposite it.
    2. There are a bank and a church opposite it.
    3. There are two banks and a church in our town.
    4. There is a bank and two churches in our town.
    5. There are a bank and two churches in our town.
    To be more precise - which form of the verb 'to be' should I use if the noun group following the verb is singular, and which if the noun group is plural, and there are some other noun groups following the conjunction 'and' and/or the comma?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: There + be

    2- If 'it' refers to something other than the bank and the church, then it's OK.

    With reagrd to you main question, there are different theories:

    There are a man and a woman outside. - Here, the verb is plural because there are two people in total.
    This is a man and a woman outside. - Here, the verb is used in the singular because of what is know as proximity- the noun nearest the verb is singular, so the user feels that a singular verb sounds better.

    You'll see both being used, so both are OK, but I think that the singular is probably more common in contemporary usage.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: There + be

    Thanks a lot - I just felt that it was a matter of preference that determines the use of 'there + BE'.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: There + be

    It is mostly preference- I use the singular form because it sounds and feels better to me, and ignore the mathematics.

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