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    #1

    There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    ---------------------------------------------

    This sentence is deemed correct in a Chinese school's English test.
    I don't know why. If you write 'there are an apple and three oranges on the table', it would be marked wrong.

    What is your opinion? Thank you in advance.

  1. Banned
    Interested in Language
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    #2

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    The pre-verbal subject slot is filled by the pleonastic 'there', which assigns singular third person to the number of the verb. That is one view.

    The other being that the deep subject "an apple and ..." determines the number of the verb.

    The makers of your test likes the surface-subject interpretation (the first view).
    The plural 'are' is correct (too).

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    #3

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    The pre-verbal subject slot is filled by the pleonastic 'there', which assigns singular third person to the number of the verb. That is one view.

    The other being that the deep subject "an apple and ..." determines the number of the verb.

    The makers of your test likes the surface-subject interpretation (the first view).
    The plural 'are' is correct (too).
    So, it sounds like either way is correct, right? Do you know which school has a larger following?

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    #4

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiuJing View Post
    So, it sounds like either way is correct, right? Do you know which school has a larger following?
    The one that I follow: 'is'

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    #5

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiuJing View Post
    There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    ---------------------------------------------

    This sentence is deemed correct in a Chinese school's English test.
    I don't know why. If you write 'there are an apple and three oranges on the table', it would be marked wrong.

    What is your opinion? Thank you in advance.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, LiuJing.

    (1) It is unfortunate that the test has this question. It is not fair to

    the students. If you have an understanding teacher who is genuinely

    humble, perhaps you can respectfully suggest that this question be

    deleted from future tests.

    (2) I think that almost all books agree that "There are an apple and

    three oranges on the table" is "correct."

    (a) That is: An apple and three oranges ARE on the table.

    (3) These same books also agree that "There is an apple and three

    oranges on the table" is correct because that is the way most native

    speakers choose. The given reason is that people's minds are thinking of

    "apple," so the singular immediately comes to mind. Another reason given

    is that the sound of "is an apple" is more natural than the sound of "are an

    apple."

    *****

    Have a nice day!

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    #6

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    why don't u use : An apple and three oranges are on the table. :)

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    #7

    Re: There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by EhabIsaac View Post
    why don't u use : An apple and three oranges are on the table. :)
    Killjoy!

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