Looking for help with English grammar? Learn the basics of using “there is” and “there are” correctly with this comprehensive guide. We’ll cover the rules of using these phrases in everyday English sentences and provide examples of correct usage. We’ll also discuss how to use these phrases in questions and how to avoid common mistakes. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to confidently use “there is” and “there are” in your English conversations.
✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/grammar-english-there-is-are/
Do you want to improve your grammar skills? You’ve come to the right place! In this podcast, we’ll discuss an area of English grammar
even native English speakers frequently get wrong. As always, we will provide you with tips and tricks to help you solve any problems you might have with “There is” and “There are”. With this podcast, you’ll be able to take your grammar skills to the next level and become a more confident English communicator.
When using “there is” and “there are” in English, it’s important to remember that we use “there is” for singular nouns and we use “there are” for plural nouns. For example, “There is a cat in the tree” and “There are two cats in the tree.”
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It’s also important to remember that we can use these phrases in both positive and negative sentences. For example, “There are no cats in the tree” and “There is not a cat in the tree.” Finally, when using “there is” and “there are” in a question, the verb must come after the phrase. For example, “Is there a cat in the tree?” and “Are there cats in the tree?”.
With practice and repetition, you’ll be able to master the use of “there is” and “there are” in English. With this podcast, you’ll gain a better understanding of English grammar and be able to use it to communicate effectively and confidently.
- Negative: Not good or wanted; lacking positive qualities.
- Positive: Good or useful; having good qualities.
- Visit: To go see someone or some place for a short time.
- Plural: More than one of something.
- Singular: Only one of something.
- Comfortable: Feeling good and relaxed.
- Traffic: A lot of cars and vehicles on the road.
Hi there, and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Today I'm going to give you a little nugget of knowledge, a small tip for speaking English. We're gonna cover something that native English speakers frequently get wrong, so that you can get it right.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
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So let's do some practice today on something that's used frequently in English. It's pretty simple this, but there are lots of people who get this one wrong, including native English speakers.
And it is....when to use 'there's' or 'there is' and when to use 'there are'.
I think people make a mistake with this one because the subject of the sentence doesn't go at the start of the sentence. We know that subject and verb must agree.
And because the subject's not in the normal position, perhaps we treat it a little differently. Some examples of the mistake?
There's two reasons for this. There's two reasons for this.
- There's loads of cake left.
- There's too many cars on the road.
So what's the mistake? What's going on here?
Well, we're using 'there's' or 'there is' when we're talking about plural things. So we use this 'there is' or 'there are' when we're talking generally about the state of something or about the quantity of something. It's like 'il y a' in French or 'es gibt' in German, and I'm sure plenty other languages have a construct like this.
So what's wrong with these sentences that I gave you?
- There's two reasons for this.
Well, I'm saying 'there's', so 'there' is, and yet TWO reasons. So it's plural.
- There's loads of cake left.
Actually, you should say here, 'there are loads of cake left'. But I think this mistake is so common that most native English speakers would actually say 'there is loads of cake left'. I think that's because they're thinking about the unaccountable noun 'cake'.
- There's too many cars on the road.
Should be 'there ARE too many cars on the road' because 'too many cars' is plural.
A photograph of a big chocolate cherry cake on a table. With these tips, you'll be able to confidently use proper grammar in your writing and speaking.
So what's the rule? Well, it's quite simple. If you're talking about one thing, something singular, or you're talking about an uncountable noun, then it's 'there is'.
Correct examples then?
- There is water on the roof.
- There's tea in the pot.
- There's a cat on the fence.
But if you're talking about more than one thing, it's plural.
- There ARE two cats on the fence. And...
- There ARE two ladies standing in the river. Why? I have no idea!
Why don't you have a go? Here are some sentences so that you can try out for yourself whether you can get these right. You need to know the difference as well between countable and unaccountable nouns.
So you choose for each one of these sentences, whether it's 'there is' or 'there are'.
- There is, or there are some cakes left in the kitchen. There is, or there are some cakes left in the kitchen.
- There is, or there are cake in the kitchen. There is, or there are cake in the kitchen.
- There is, or there are five eggs left. There is, or there are five eggs left.
- There is, or there are lots of ways to cook a chicken. There is, or there are lots of ways to cook a chicken.
- There is, or there are so much traffic on the road. There is, or there are so much traffic on the road. And...
- There is, or there are so many cars on the road. There is, or there are so many cars on the road.
How did you find that? Was that easy or was that difficult?
If you want to have another listen and try that quiz again, then pause at this point and go back to the start. Otherwise, let's talk through the answers.
- There ARE some cakes in the kitchen. Cake has an S on the end, so that's plural. So we're talking about a number of individual cakes. There ARE some cakes in the kitchen.
- We're using 'cake' here as an uncountable noun. So this one is 'there IS cake in the kitchen'. So there's a difference there in the use of that noun.
- There ARE five more eggs left. 'Eggs' is plural, and there are five of them. So that one's 'there ARE'.
- There ARE lots of ways to cook a chicken. So 'LOTS of ways' to cook a chicken - 'there ARE'. Don't get confused because 'chicken' is singular. The 'there ARE' is describing 'the ways', or 'ways' is the subject of the sentence, if you like.
- There IS so much traffic on the road. This one's 'there IS' because 'traffic' is an uncountable noun. It's as though we're talking about 'traffic', that's T R A F F I C, as though it's a substance.
And in contrast to that...
- 'There ARE so many cars on the road' is the correct answer because there we've got a plural - car has an S on the end, so it's 'there ARE'.
So I think really the challenge with this one is knowing when something is an uncountable noun and how to treat it in a sentence.
OK. So I hope that was helpful to you. Give us feedback, let us know. And listen to this podcast a number of times until you're completely comfortable with it. And then you can listen out for native English speakers making mistakes on this one, but you'll be able to get it right!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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