[Grammar] There is/are a lot of people.

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chocobo

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Hello everybody!

I have a simple question that I am not sure if the sentences are grammatically correct. Are the following sentences correct?


  1. There is a lot of people.
  2. There are a lot of people.
  3. There are lots of people.

Please give me an advice. Maybe you think this is a very easy question but I am just thinking of the verbs "is/are", whether they should follow the words "a lot of / people" there. If it follows the words"a lot of", should I use the verb "is"? I mean is the 1st sentence right? How about if it follows the word "people", should I use the verb "are" there? I mean is the 2nd sentence right? Maybe they are both correct?
Thank you!
 

PaulMatthews

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1. *There is a lot of people.
2. There are a lot of people.
2a. There is a lot of money.

When used this way, "lot" is said to be 'number transparent', which means the number of the noun phrase a lot of people depends on the number of the noun that is complement to the preposition "of". In your examples "people" is a plural noun, so the noun phrase a lot of people is also plural and thus requires the plural verb "are". Now compare that with 2a where this time the complement to "of" is the singular non-count noun "money". That means the noun phrase "a lot of money" is also singular and thus requires the singular verb "is".

3. There are lots of people.
3a. There is lots of money.

In 3 and 3a "lots" is plural, but it is still 'number-transparent', so the number of the verb is again dependent on the noun that is complement to the preposition "of". "People" is plural and "money" is singular, so the correct verbs are respectively plural "are" and singular "is".

(* = ungrammatical)
 
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