Skills

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There is/are

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There is/There are is a common phrase in English, used to indicate that something "exists"or is in a certain location. The main subject follows the verb when there is/are is used.

    There is an apple on the table.

    There are some apples on the table.


Other forms of "be" can also be used with there is/there are.

    There will be a party at Bill's house on Saturday.

    There were four witnesses at the crime scene.

    There have been two robberies in the last five months.


Contractions are possible, but they are mostly used informally in speech.

    There's a fly in my soup.

    There're plenty of oranges left.

    There'll be a lot of people in attendance.

There's is by far the most common contraction, and it is sometimes used inadvertently with plural subjects by native speakers.

    There's ten people outside!

Common mistakes

Since the expression there is/are usually has no equivalent in other languages, students sometimes use have instead.

    Have a lot of food on the table.

    It has a lot of food on the table.

    There have a lot of food on the table.

    There is a lot of food on the table.


    (Incorrect)

    (Incorrect)

    (Incorrect)

    (Correct)

See also :

Grammar : Subject-Verb Agreement

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Last updated: 15 February, 2010 02:43:16