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  1. Junior Member
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      • Native Language:
      • Polish
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      • Poland
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    • Posts: 80
    #1

    There was / there were a million

    I've just listened to one of the traditional American songs - "Yankee Doodle". The lyrics read:

    There was Captain Washington upon a slapping stallion
    Giving order to his men, I guess there (was / were) a million.

    I listened to two versions of the song and in one of them "was" was used, whereas "were" was used in the other one.
    What's the correct word here?

  2. VIP Member
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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    #2

    Re: There was / there were a million

    Were is correct in careful speech. Was is common in everyday American English.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: There was / there were a million

    The same is true of British English.

  4. VIP Member
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    #4

    Re: There was / there were a million

    Indeed, back when Yankee Doodle was written there was much less difference between British and American English.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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    #5

    Re: There was / there were a million

    I think the differences were less marked more recently than that- US TV shows from the sixties don't sound as different as they do today.

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