Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    127
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default There's vs there are

    I know that when we begin a sentence with "it", we use "is" - this is called agreement e.g. It's books he needs to excel at maths

    I saw many times in AmE "is" used after "there" for plural objects e.g.

    There's papers on the desk

    Is that correct to say 'is' instead of 'are' for plural forms or this is somewhat colloquial?

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,064
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by besthost View Post
    I know that when we begin a sentence with "it", we use "is" - this is called agreement e.g. It's books he needs to excel at maths

    I saw many times in AmE "is" used after "there" for plural objects e.g.

    There's papers on the desk

    Is that correct to say 'is' instead of 'are' for plural forms or this is somewhat colloquial?
    We first have to get something straight, Besthost. Colloquial/informal does not mean "incorrect". Formal/Standard English does not mean "correct".

    In studies of real language, "there's + plural" predominates among all levels of speakers.

    Grammar is not some fixed set of ironclad rules. Grammar, in its real sense, its real meaning describes how a people actually use language. It really can't be any other way for there is no way to determine correctness than by checking to see what the majority of language users choose for a given situation.

    Fixed rules are called prescriptions and prescriptions have never accurately described language. Prescriptivists have a little out for themselves; they say that there are always exceptions. That's true. What we find is that a prescriptivist's exception often is the real rule.

  3. #3
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by besthost View Post
    I know that when we begin a sentence with "it", we use "is" - this is called agreement e.g. It's books he needs to excel at maths

    I saw many times in AmE "is" used after "there" for plural objects e.g.

    There's papers on the desk

    Is that correct to say 'is' instead of 'are' for plural forms or this is somewhat colloquial?
    "There's papers on the desk" may be spoken this way but it is wrong grammatically. A lot of speaking English contains words and phrases that are not grammatically correct.

    There's is a contraction for There is. If there is a contraction for "There are" it would be like for "we are - we're"

    However, there'er not only looks funny it is also extremely awkward to pronounce.

    The proper way to speak and write this phrase is

    There are papers on the table.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,064
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    [QUOTE=Naamplao;220153]"There's papers on the desk" may be spoken this way but it is wrong grammatically. A lot of speaking English contains words and phrases that are not grammatically correct.

    There's is a contraction for There is. If there is a contraction for "There are" it would be like for "we are - we're"

    However, there'er not only looks funny it is also extremely awkward to pronounce
    .

    The proper way to speak and write this phrase is
    [quote]

    There are papers on the table.

    Naamplao, I'm afraid that there is simply no support in language science for the contentions you've made, [underlined, above].


    Nonstandard English
    There are many expressions and grammatical constructions that are not normally used in Standard English. These include regional expressions, such as might could, and other usages, such as ain’t and it don’t, that are typically associated with dialects used by people belonging to less prestigious social groups. These nonstandard varieties of English are no less logical or systematic than Standard English. In this book an expression labeled nonstandard is not wrong; it is merely inappropriate for ordinary usage in Standard English.

    ...

    It is important to remember that formal and informal refer to styles of expression, not standards of correctness. Informal English has its own rules of grammar and is just as logical as formal English. You can be serious using informal English, just as you can be comical using formal English. The two styles are simply used for different occasions.

    Introduction. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996
    [riverkid: added emphasis is mine]

  5. #5
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    [quote=riverkid;220160][quote=Naamplao;220153]"There's papers on the desk" may be spoken this way but it is wrong grammatically. A lot of speaking English contains words and phrases that are not grammatically correct.

    There's is a contraction for There is. If there is a contraction for "There are" it would be like for "we are - we're"

    However, there'er not only looks funny it is also extremely awkward to pronounce
    .

    The proper way to speak and write this phrase is

    There are papers on the table.

    Naamplao, I'm afraid that there is simply no support in language science for the contentions you've made, [underlined, above].



    [riverkid: added emphasis is mine]
    You are telling me that There's means There are....I don't think so

  6. #6
    2006 is offline Banned
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    "There's papers on the desk" may be spoken this way but it is wrong grammatically. A lot of speaking English contains words and phrases that are not grammatically correct.

    There's is a contraction for There is. If there is a contraction for "There are" it would be like for "we are - we're"

    However, there'er not only looks funny it is also extremely awkward to pronounce.

    The proper way to speak and write this phrase is

    There are papers on the table.
    Naamplao
    I agree with most of what you said. But I think that people do say "there're", although the difference in sound between "there are" and "there're" is not great. Likewise, it is almost as easy to write/type "there are" as "there're,"; so there's not much gain in using the contraction.

  7. #7
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Naamplao
    I agree with most of what you said. But I think that people do say "there're", although the difference in sound between "there are" and "there're" is not great. Likewise, it is almost as easy to write/type "there are" as "there're,"; so there's not much gain in using the contraction.
    I will agree that there are situations in Speaking English where this might be said. But it is not correct English, is it?

    Look, most of the people seeking assistance want to eventually pass TOEFL or Cambridge Exams in English. I don't think you do them a service at all by muddying the waters by adding speaking slang as correct English.

    I can pretty well guarantee that if "There's papers on the table." or "There're papers on the table" were on an exam, selecting these as being correct would be the wrong answer. Then a person making this selection would lament, "Well a native English speaker told me it was right."

    That is my opinion anyway.

  8. #8
    2006 is offline Banned
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    I will agree that there are situations in Speaking English where this might be said. But it is not correct English, is it?

    Look, most of the people seeking assistance want to eventually pass TOEFL or Cambridge Exams in English. I don't think you do them a service at all by muddying the waters by adding speaking slang as correct English.

    I can pretty well guarantee that if "There's papers on the table." or "There're papers on the table" were on an exam, selecting these as being correct would be the wrong answer. Then a person making this selection would lament, "Well a native English speaker told me it was right."

    That is my opinion anyway.
    I agree that there is some difference of opinion as to whether "there're" is a legitimate contraction, but I don't see why it shouldn't be.
    I don't feel obliged to cater to people who primarily just want to pass an exam. I would much rather help someone who actually wants to use the language, but I still would tell them that "There's papers on the table." is not good English.
    The last word is yours, if you wish.
    Last edited by 2006; 24-Oct-2007 at 00:51. Reason: correcting unfortunate typo

  9. #9
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I agree that there is some difference of opinion as to whether "they're" is a legitimate contraction, but I don't see why it shouldn't be.
    I don't feel obliged to cater to people who primarily just want to pass an exam. I would much rather help someone who actually wants to use the language, but I still would tell them that "There's papers on the table." is not good English.
    The last word is yours, if you wish.
    They're is certainly a valid contraction.....it is there're where we differ.

    Well as much as we have the luxury to choose how we teach, some have a lot riding on their passing of these exams. I personally hate the TOEFL exam and I think it is undergoing some kind of revision....but many won't enter a western university without passing TOEFL. I also agree that getting a good mark on a TOEFL exam does not necessarily mean you speak/write English well. But I am sure in your career you have had to pass useless courses to advance...I know I did.

  10. #10
    2006 is offline Banned
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: There's vs there are

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    They're is certainly a valid contraction.....it is there're where we differ.

    Well as much as we have the luxury to choose how we teach, some have a lot riding on their passing of these exams. I personally hate the TOEFL exam and I think it is undergoing some kind of revision....but many won't enter a western university without passing TOEFL. I also agree that getting a good mark on a TOEFL exam does not necessarily mean you speak/write English well. But I am sure in your career you have had to pass useless courses to advance...I know I did.
    Sorry for the careless typo; I certainly meant "there're".

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •