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- 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.