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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > A doubt about "There is / there are"     

A doubt about "There is / there are"


A doubt about "There is / there are"
Hello my dear friends,
I have a doubt about the use of There is and there are. Could you tell me which is correct? Thanks in advance.
There �s a cd and two books.
There are a cd and two books.
My doubt is because in the second one the sum of ofjects is 3 so it �s plural, but sound a little weird to me. Please, Help me!

12 Feb 2010      


The correct form is There �s a CD and two books because of the conjunction. 

12 Feb 2010     


I would say, there is a CD and two books.  I would probably use the contraction -- there �s a CD and two books.  The main object is the CD - only one object.  I am a native speaker and would never say, There are a CD and two books.  

12 Feb 2010     


There �s a CD and two books

There are 2 books and a CD
Specially cuz the article A cannot be used in the plural (eg; there are a CD) 
  Right? Thumbs Up  If I �m mistaken, please, somebody correct me! Geek

12 Feb 2010     


I think it is grammatically correct to say �There �s a CD and two books.

Marlene was right to mention the conjunction which separates two clauses, The sentence should be �There �s a CD and there are two books. � Perfectly correctly, within English grammar, is the ellipsis of items from a clause. In this case �there are � has been ellipted from the second clause but the meaning is still there from the context.

Hope that clears it up!

12 Feb 2010     

United States

I agree with Ishorton99 about the ellipsis, so it �s "There is a CD and two books."
To make it sound clearer, say "There is one CD and two books." You can hear that it �s totally wrong to say, "There are one CD and two books."

12 Feb 2010     


The rule of "there is and there are" when enumerating is this.

You have to look at the "first" thing being named. Is it singular? Then you have to use "is" - it doesn �t matter what comes afterwards. Is it a plural item? Then you must use "are"...


There is a can of soup, four bars of soap and beer in the cart.
There is bread, butter and five apples in the bag.
There is a pair of jeans, four pairs of socks and a tie in my suitcase.

There are five cars, two trucks and a helicopter in the parking lot.
There are some jackets, a pair of shoes and a tie in my suitcase.

12 Feb 2010     


Thanks a lot for all your answers. This is what I like about this site...full of people ready to help. Thanks again.Thumbs Up

12 Feb 2010     


Hi everyone
Correct: There �s a cd and two books.
You can find an interesting blog here about this very same question: http://ask.metafilter.com/84536/There-is-or-There-are
I teach this the same as Zora: Look at the subject following the verb: Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs.
In terms of there �s being used with plural subjects, this is classified by some grammarians under informal contractions.  Here is a link to British Council �s explanantion: http://www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish-central-grammar-other-areas-there-is.htm.  I �m pretty sure it �s also in Swan. The use of there �s with plural subjects in native speech is extremely common and perfectly acceptable but is rarely seen in formal writing (imho).

12 Feb 2010