Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    1,814
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default What do you think?

    Nonetheless, it is common in speech for the contraction there's to be used when technically a plural verb is called for, as in There's a couple of good reasons for going. The Usage Panel dislikes this construction, however. Seventy-nine percent reject the sentence There's only three things you need to know about this book. But when there's is followed by a compound subject whose first element is singular, the Panel feels differently: 56 percent accept the sentence In each of us there's a dreamer and a realist, and an additional 32 percent accept it in informal usage. The Panel is even more accepting of the sentence When you get to the stop light, there's a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right; 58 percent accept it in formal use, while an additional 37 percent accept it in informal use.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=there%20



    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
    Mister Micawber is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,855
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What do you think?

    'There's a lot of anomalies in English'-- 'there's' is not only acceptable but also rampant in the spoken language. Avoid it in formal writing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by blacknomi
    Great topic! Here're my four cents.

    That the majority of the 'Usage Panel' rejects 1) and 2) is understandable given the traditional rules of the grammar, but not necessarily an indication that those sentences are ungrammatical. Examples 1) and 2) follow a regular pattern, and for descriptivists that is in itself an indication of grammaticallity; i.e., a rule is being observed.

    For the traditionalist, the subject of an existential 'There' clause is what appears to be the verb's object, also known as the logical subject, and so the verb agrees in number with its apparent object. In 1), 'reasons', a plural noun, is the logical subject, and in 2b) 'things', a plural noun, is the logical subject, so the verb should be plural 'are', not singular 'is':

    Traditional grammar
    1a) *There's a couple of good reasons for going.
    1b) There are a couple of good reasons for going.

    2a) *There's only three things you need to know about this book.
    2b) There are only three things you need to know about this book

    In addition, that the entire Usage Panel rejects 1a), yet 21% of that Panel accepts 2a) has to do with the word 'only', which expresses 'just one of'; i.e., (i) There is just one of three things you need to know about this book. Cf. the ungrammaticality of (ii) *There are just one of three things you need to know about this book. In other words, 21% of the Panel sees (2a) as (i), whereas 79% of the Panel see (2a) as (ii), and hence the difference in grammaticality judgements:

    Usage Panel Grammaticality judgements: Divided
    2a) There's only three things you need to know about this book.
    (i) There's just one of three things you need to know about this book.
    (ii) *There's only three things you need to know about this book.

    Example (i) is deemed acceptable because the logical subject 'one' agrees in singular number with the verb. Example (ii) is deemed unaceptable because the logical subject 'things' does not agree in number with the verb. In short, 2a) has more than one semantic interpretation, and hence the divided panel.

    For non-traditionalists, logical subjects don't come into play. It doesn't matter if the word(s) that follow the verb are singular or plural in number because "There's" is viewed as a fused form (e.g., singular: There's one reason; Plural: There's four reasons. Cf. the ungrammaticality of the non-fused form: *There is four reasons.) That is, it's not likely that a speaker who uses "There's four reasons" will also use *"There is four reasons". "There is" and "There's" are subject to different rules, and speakers do in fact known that--albeit innately--and the reason a speaker uses both "There are four reasons" and "There's four reasons"; they both follow a regular rule.

    Non-traditional grammar: fused form
    1a) There's a couple of good reasons for going.
    2a) There's only three things you need to know about this book.

    Non-traditional grammar: non-fused form
    1b) *There is a couple of good reasons for going.
    2b) There is only three things you need to know about this book.

    Example 1b) is ungrammatical. The speaker assumes that 'a couple' a singular quantifier, is the logical subject. Example, 2b) is grammatical if 'only' is interpreted as 'just one of'.

    As for 3) and 4), the Usage Panel is divided. For half the panel, 3) and 4) are unacceptable because the logical subject is plural (it conists of two nouns), so the verb should also be plural.

    3) *In each of us there's a dreamer and a realist.
    3a) In each of us there are a dreamer and a realist.

    4) *There's a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right.
    4a) There are a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right.

    For the other half of the Panel, 3) and 4) are acceptable, and acceptability is based on structural interpretation: The conjunction 'and' alters the structure of the logical subject. The subject can be interpreted as one phrase or as two separate phrases:

    One Noun phrase [a dreamer and a realist]
    Two Noun phrases [a dreamer] and [a realist]

    For those who interpret the logical subject as two noun phrases, joined by 'and', adding in 'there is' after 'and' provides a singular verb for each logical subject:

    3b) In each of us there's a dreamer and there's a realist.
    4b) There's a gas station on the left and there's a grocery store on the right.

    In short, the Panel is divided because 3) and 4) have more than one structural interpretation. (See, 2a) above. re: 'only' ~ just one of as having more than one semantic interpretation.)

    In sum,

    Traditional grammar: the verb agrees with the logical subject
    3a) In each of us there are a dreamer and a realist.
    3b) In each of us there's a dreamer and there's a realist.

    4a) There are a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right.
    4b) There's a gas station on the left and there's a grocery store on the right.

    Non-traditional grammar: "There's" is fused.
    3) In each of us there's a dreamer and a realist.
    4) There's a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    1,814
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What do you think?

    Great topic!
    Thank you, my Cassie.
    I should thank X Mode.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    1,814
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What do you think?

    Cassie, thank you for elaborate explanation. I'll get back to this later. Luv ya!

Posting Permissions

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