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  1. #1

    there is or there are

    Dear Sir,

    Pls explain to me

    There is or there are for this example

    There is/are a table, a car, a chair, and a fridge in the house

    and if people ask us.

    Are/is there any tables in your kitchen? (correct?)

    ( in the departure streamlines/ unit 11)

    Thanks
    Thy

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: there is or there are

    Compound subjects:

    (a) if the nouns are singular, the verb is singular.
    EX: There is a table, a car, a chair, and a fridge.

    (b) if the nouns are plural, the verb is plural.
    EX: There are tables, cars, chairs, and fridges.

    (c) if the nouns differ in number, the verb accommodates both; it's plural.
    EX: There are a table, cars, a chair, and a fridge.

    Exception
    (d) if the nouns are viewed as a collection of individual items, the verb is plural.
    EX: There are a table, a chair, a car, and a fridge.

    The difference between (a) and (d) is semantics:

    (a) There is (a list of items) a table, a chair, ...
    (d) There are (these things) a table, a chair, ...

    Note, (a) is more common than (d).

    =======

    Are there any tables in your kitchen? <correct; are + plural count noun>
    Is there any milk in the fridge? <correct; is + non-count nount>


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 150
    #3

    Re: there is or there are

    If the first noun in the list is singular use "there is" {There is a bike, a lawn mower, and two cars in the garage}. If the first noun in the list is plural use "there are" {There are two cars, a bike, and a lawn mower in the garage}.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: there is or there are

    river, we appreciate your contributions. Please note, however, that the information you've added has already been provided. Additional information is welcome if it contributes more to the discussion.

    All the best.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 150
    #5

    Re: there is or there are

    I wonder about your example c: "if the nouns differ in number, the verb accommodates both; it's plural. EX: There are a table, cars, a chair, and a fridge."

    The first noun in your list is singular. So wouldn't "there is" be appropriate?

    Sorry, C. I should have asked this question in my original post:)
    Last edited by river; 21-May-2006 at 15:42.

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #6

    Re: there is or there are

    But "chairs" is plural. The verb agrees in number with its subject, and given that our subject is a compound, comprised of three singular nouns and one plural noun, the verb needs to be plural, to accommodate the plural noun. Shorten our example sentence and look what happens,

    EX: *There is chairs. <ungrammatical>

    Switching the nouns around "feels" better, though, doesn't it?

    EX: There are chairs, a table, a car, and a fridge.

    But that order is just as grammatical as,

    EX: There are a table, a car, chairs, and a fridge.

    In short, the standard rule, even for expletive There constructs: the verb agrees in number with its subject. If the subject is compound and has both singular and plural nouns, the verb must agree in number with the higher number, plural. Speakers should order the nouns accordingly, but they don't always seem to do that. The reason being, elsewhere in the grammar it doesn't seem to matter all that much which noun comes first:

    EX: Max and the kids are leaving.
    EX: The kid and Max are leaving.
    "Max" is a singular noun, yet the verb is plural "are".

    EX: There are Max and the kids to think of.
    EX: There are the kids and Max to think of.
    "Max" is a singular noun, yet the verb is plural "are".

    Hope that helps.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 150
    #7

    Re: there is or there are

    "If the first noun in the list of things is singular, use there is." http://ww2.college-em.qc.ca/prof/epr...d/theremts.htm

    There are chairs, a table, a car, and a fridge (correct)

    There are a table, a car, chairs, and a fridge (incorrect)

    There is a table, a car, chairs, and a fridge (correct)
    Last edited by river; 22-May-2006 at 02:58.

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #8

    Re: there is or there are

    You've added a useful site.

    Prescriptivism (what speakers should do) and Descriptivism (what people actually do) are rule-based.

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