There is/are a table and (a) chair

Rachel Adams

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Will the meaning change if I drop "a" in sentences #2 and #4? By dropping the article do the table and chair become a single unit and if they do, is it wrong to use "are" in sentences #2 and #4?

1. "There is a table and a chair in the corner."

2. "There is a table and chair in the corner."

3. "There are a table and a chair in the corner."

4. "There are a table and chair in the corner."
 

Tdol

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I would only use 1 & 2. 3 & 4 sound odd because of the plural verb is followed by a singular article. I know that there are two things, but I wouldn't use are.
 

Rachel Adams

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I would only use 1 & 2. 3 & 4 sound odd because of the plural verb is followed by a singular article. I know that there are two things, but I wouldn't use are.
I remember in one of the previous discussions there was another sentence: "there is a computer and a table in my room." The use of "are" was correct. Could you tell me how is this sentence different from sentences 3 and 4?
 

5jj

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I remember in one of the previous discussions there was another sentence: "there is a computer and a table in my room." The use of "are" was correct. Could you tell me how is this sentence different from sentences 3 and 4?
You'll recall from that discussion that people have different opinions about this.
 

5jj

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I would say #3, but not 4.
Tarheel and Tdol would say neither.
If we wait long enough, somebody who would say #4 will probably appear.
 

Rachel Adams

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I would say #3, but not 4.
Tarheel and Tdol would say neither.
If we wait long enough, somebody who would say #4 will probably appear.
If two items are used as a single unit then using the plural verb is wrong, isn't? But omitting the second article isn't wrong,is it?
For example, "there is a fork and spoon on the table." If my example is an example of the use of a single unit in a sentence, of course.
 

5jj

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One at a time.
If two items are used as a single unit then using the plural verb is wrong, isn't?

Yes, though not everybody will agree on what two items make up a 'single unit'.

I think you are trying to get unbreakable rules on this You won't succeed. As we have already seen, people have different opinions about this area.
 

Glizdka

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If we wait long enough, somebody who would say #4 will probably appear.
I'd say #4. ;)

Seriously though, as 5jj has said, people have different opinions about this area. Personally, I recommend there's.

Interestingly enough, the textbook Steps Plus VII published by Oxford University Press (page 12) teaches seventh-graders in Poland that they should only use is in such sentences, not are.

Remember! "There is a bed and a lamp." NOT "There are a bed and a lamp."
 

Rachel Adams

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One at a time.


Yes, though not everybody will agree on what two items make up a 'single unit'.

I think you are trying to get unbreakable rules on this You won't succeed. As we have already seen, people have different opinions about this area.
And omitting the second article isn't wrong when we are talking about a single unit not about two different things as in sentence #4. "There are a table and chair in the corner." You said you would not use sentence#4 but in this example, "a" can be omitted before "spoon": "there is a fork and spoon on the table". Right?
 

5jj

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See post #10.
 

Rachel Adams

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See post #10.
It doesn't answer my question if "a" can be omitted before "spoon" and in other similar examples when two objects are used as a single unit: "there is a fork and spoon on the table. Could you answer my question, please?
 

Rachel Adams

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Yes, it can.
But one thing isn't clear to me. The second article is optional in #2 before "chair" but in #4 its omission before "chair" makes the sentence wrong. Why is it so?

2. "There is a table and chair in the corner."



4. "There are a table and chair in the corner."
 

5jj

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But one thing isn't clear to me. The second article is optional in #2 before "chair" but in #4 its omission before "chair" makes the sentence wrong. Why is it so?
As far as I can see, nobody in this thread has said that it is wrong.
 

Rachel Adams

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As far as I can see, nobody in this thread has said that it is wrong.
I mean why exactly most native speakers wouldn't use sentence #4 because the article is omitted before "chair" or because of the plural verb is followed by a singular article. Perhaps the article is optional in #4 before"chair"?
 
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