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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
    • Posts: 11
    #1

    is or are "a few"

    Which one is correct, and why?
    There are a few things we need to discuss.
    There is a few things we need to discuss.
    There is a lot more people arriving tomorrow
    There are a lot more people arriving tomorrow.

    I always thought "is" goes with "a lot", "a few", "a great deal of"...but looks like I am wrong, or am I?

  1. Fazzu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Tamil
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • Singapore

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 397
    #2

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Yes Zigzag,you are wrong where you said " 'is' goes with 'a lot' and 'a few'.The verb 'is' goes with singular forms like you have mentioned:'a great deal of'.I am sure you should have known now that 1) and 4) examples are correct.

    Hope I am right.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #3

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Hi Zigzag,
    Yes, you are wrong. Ignore the indefinite article; a lot and a few take plural, not singular.
    There are a lot of nice flowers here.
    There are a few mistakes in your essay.
    But if there are no nouns after a lot, you should use singular:
    There is a lot I don't know on this subject.
    Best wishes.

  2. Fazzu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Tamil
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      • India
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 397
    #4

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble
    But if there are no nouns after a lot, you should use singular:
    There is a lot I don't know on this subject.
    I didn't know that!

  3. matilda
    Guest
    #5

    Talking Re: is or are "a few"

    there are a lot of things we need to disscuss because your subject is A LOT OD THINGS

  4. Fazzu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Tamil
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 397
    #6

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Because of the word "things" you got to use "are" here.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #7

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Fazzu,
    Here, a lot is an entity. Another example:
    A lot depends on the circumstances.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #8

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    Which one is correct, and why?
    There are a few things we need to discuss.
    There is a few things we need to discuss.
    There is a lot more people arriving tomorrow
    There are a lot more people arriving tomorrow.
    I always thought "is" goes with "a lot", "a few", "a great deal of"...but looks like I am wrong, or am I?
    In speech, among all manner of ENLs, the most common form of verb for 'there/here/where/how + plural noun' is 'is' in a contracted form.

    +++++++++++++

    LGSWE - "..., such examples are somewhat more common in conversation than the standard constructions with plural verb plus plural noun phrase."

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Where's my keys?

    Here's your keys.

    There's two men at the door for you.

    There's a few things we need to discuss.

    There's a lot more people arriving tomorrow.

    How's your parents?


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #9

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Hi Riverkid,
    Most non-native learners need grammatically correct standard English, so that they could successfully pass tests and feel at ease among learned people. I am 99% sure Where is my keys is bad grammar.
    Oh yes, I enjoy listening to real vernacular English with all its numberless deviations from standard grammar and pronunciation. It was amusing to hear (repeatedly), for instance,
    - And I says...- from an Irish girl. But that doesn't mean I should say so.
    No offence meant.
    Regards


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #10

    Re: is or are "a few"

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Hi Riverkid,
    Most non-native learners need grammatically correct standard English,
    so that they could successfully pass tests and feel at ease among learned people. I am 99% sure Where is my keys is bad grammar.

    Well, that just shows to go ya, Humble, that being sure of something is no guarantee that you're right.

    Oh yes, I enjoy listening to real vernacular English with all its numberless deviations from standard grammar and pronunciation. It was amusing to hear (repeatedly), for instance,
    - And I says...- from an Irish girl. But that doesn't mean I should say so.

    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language - page 10

    "Where being ungrammatical is confused with merely being informal, there is a danger that the student of English will not be taught how to speak in a normal informal way, but will sound stilted and unnatural, like an inexpert reader reading something out of a book."


    You see, Humble, that's been one of the major mistakes of traditional/prescriptive grammar. They made the assumption that all language had to be the same as that which we use for formal writing. That leaves them in the ludicrous position of trying to defend their "rules" when no one follows them.

    Now you too seem to be operating under this same false assumption.

    I've heard this argument about tests and such and it is a fallacious one. First, it presupposes that ESLs are not smart enough to recognize that there is informal and formal in language and that formal is required on many tests.

    It should be noted that most reputable tests strive to avoid any questions that relate to these contentious issues.

    Secondly, tests represent such a small portion of an ESLs English life.

    Thirdly, why continue to allow these know-nothings to advance their highly specious 'rules'. They simply aren't about English.




    http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articl...wrepublic.html

    Grammar Puss

    by Steven Pinker


    The legislators of "correct English," in fact, are an informal network of copy-editors, dictionary usage panelists, style manual writers, English teachers, essayists, and pundits. Their authority, they claim, comes from their dedication to implementing standards that have served the language well in the past, especially in the prose of its finest writers, and that maximize its clarity, logic, consistency, elegance, precision, stability, and expressive range. William Safire, who writes the weekly column "On Language" for the [New York Times Magazine], calls himself a "language maven," from the Yiddish word meaning expert, and this gives us a convenient label for the entire group.

    To whom I say: Maven, shmaven! [Kibbitzers] and [nudniks] is more like it. For here are the remarkable facts. Most of the prescriptive rules of the language mavens make no sense on any level. They are bits of folklore that originated for screwball reasons several hundred years ago and have perpetuated themselves ever since. For as long as they have existed, speakers have flouted them, spawning identical plaints about the imminent decline of the language century after century. All the best writers in English have been among the flagrant flouters. The rules conform neither to logic nor tradition, and if they were ever followed they would force writers into fuzzy, clumsy, wordy, ambiguous, incomprehensible prose, in which certain thoughts are not expressible at all. Indeed, most of the "ignorant errors" these rules are supposed to correct display an elegant logic and an acute sensitivity to the grammatical texture of the language, to which the mavens are oblivious.




    No offence meant.

    Absoutely none taken, Humble. We can argue and debate all day long and I'll still be willing to stand you a beer.
    #

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