Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 18 of 18
  1. #11
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    812
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    mafatu69: I strongly disagree.

    The subject in this sentence is 'lot'. The expressions 'a lot of' and 'lots of' are used before nouns to mean ‘a large number or amount of.’ In common with other words denoting quantities, 'lot' itself does not normally function as a head noun, meaning that it does not itself determine whether the following verb is singular or plural. Thus, although 'lot' is singular in : 'a lot of people', the verb that follows is not singular. In this case, the word 'people' acts as the head noun and, being plural, ensures that the following verb is also plural: : 'a lot of people were assembled' (not : a lot of people was assembled).
    The final point is important. For instance if two sentences are constructed using both methods, problems appear.

    There are a lot of people downstairs who were assembled outside the building earlier this morning; they are very angry.

    There is a lot of people downstairs who was assembled...

    The second sentence (using the singular verb) is obviously incorrect, yet the verbs must agree as they both (in spite of their locations in seperate clauses) refer to the same entity (the people).

    How can these two uses be reconsiled when one clearly doesn't work?

  2. #12
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,948
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    There are a lot of people downstairs who were assembled outside the building earlier this morning; they are very angry.

    There is a lot of people downstairs who was assembled...

    The second sentence (using the singular verb) is obviously incorrect, yet the verbs must agree as they both (in spite of their locations in seperate clauses) refer to the same entity (the people).

    How can these two uses be reconsiled when one clearly doesn't work?
    Easily. You use "who" only for people, not for lots.
    There is a lot of people downstairs which was assembled...
    That is the grammatical consequence of using "is".
    However, "There's a lot people who are ... " is normal in my dialect, though I say "There're a lot of people ..."

  3. #13
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    812
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Easily. You use "who" only for people, not for lots.
    There is a lot of people downstairs which was assembled...
    That is the grammatical consequence of using "is".
    However, "There's a lot people who are ... " is normal in my dialect, though I say "There're a lot of people ..."
    Point well taken.

    However I, personally, sense a difference in meaning.

    Is a lot of people, to me, suggests - one lot of people; a fixed amount, a set.

    Are a lot of people, to me, suggests - an undetermined number of people, a large amount, a (potentially) fluctuating, unfixed quantity.

    Perhaps this is due to ingrained and incorrect connotations which I myself create.

  4. #14
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,948
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    Point well taken.

    However I, personally, sense a difference in meaning.

    Is a lot of people, to me, suggests - one lot of people; a fixed amount, a set.

    Are a lot of people, to me, suggests - an undetermined number of people, a large amount, a (potentially) fluctuating, unfixed quantity.

    Perhaps this is due to ingrained and incorrect connotations which I myself create.
    I think it's due to the inherent ambiguity of what verb to use in phrases such as this; so even after the teachers and linguists have stopped arguing over it, the masses will still use whatever sounds right on the day. And in cases like this I don't blame them for maybe getting it wrong.

  5. #15
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,854
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    Point well taken.

    However I, personally, sense a difference in meaning.

    Is a lot of people, to me, suggests - one lot of people; a fixed amount, a set.

    Are a lot of people, to me, suggests - an undetermined number of people, a large amount, a (potentially) fluctuating, unfixed quantity.

    Perhaps this is due to ingrained and incorrect connotations which I myself create.
    A lot of merchandise.
    A lot of antiques etc.
    But 'a lot of people' I don't think you can treat 'people' in this way.

  6. #16
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    812
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    A lot of merchandise.
    A lot of antiques etc.
    But 'a lot of people' I don't think you can treat 'people' in this way.
    I agree, and that fact adds to my confusion.

    This is an example taken from the Cambridge dictionary website

    Another lot of visitors will be here this afternoon.

    However I feel that Raymott's last post probably sums the issue up fairly well.



  7. #17
    generalmail4u is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    I think below examples extracted from INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS (OXFORD Publisher) can help all of us to define corrrect sentences.

    • There are a lot of popular countries. (Coutry is a count noun)

    • $ 1,000 dollars is a lot of money in Costa Rica. (Money is a mass noun)
    Best

  8. #18
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?

    A lot of people post on this website. Some of those people are reading things or posting things right now.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Similar Threads

  1. People - Two Little Questions
    By Anonymous in forum Frequently Asked Questions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Nov-2006, 11:04
  2. Teachers, may you please correct my essay.
    By hmong04 in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Jul-2004, 10:01
  3. Travel / Traveling Overseas
    By eric2004 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 63
    Last Post: 06-Jan-2004, 22:17
  4. Psychotheray paper Please correct
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 17-Dec-2003, 22:28
  5. bad people
    By jvaldelv in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-Oct-2003, 00:05

Posting Permissions

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