[Grammar] There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

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LiuJing

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There is an apple and three oranges on the table.

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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.
 

corum

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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).
 

LiuJing

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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?
 

TheParser

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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!
 

EhabIsaac

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