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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > There is/are    

There is/are


There is/are
Hello dear colleagues, I need your help urgently, please. I �m so confused. I can �t understand why we use "is" instead of "are" in the sentence, "There is a book, a pencil and a snack." I need to know why and if we also should use "is" in the question form of this sentence too. I need help in determining which to use in this sentence: There ........ a bone and crossbones on the flag. Thanks a lot

14 Feb 2015      

Russian Federation

When we use there isare, we look at the first noun. If the first noun is in plural, we use "there are". If the noun is singular form, we use "there is", even if we have many things there.

For example, There are some books on the table.

                         There are two students at the blackboard.

                          There is a book, a workbook and a pen on the table.

                          There is a sofa, a piano, a chair in the room.

 The same situation is in the question. 

14 Feb 2015     


As Julia said the verb ( is /  are) depends on the 1st noun that comes after :
- if the noun is singular use IS : There is a cat (singular) and 2 dogs.
- if the noun is plural use ARE : These are 2 dogs (plural) and a cat.
In the question form use the singular.
For your sentence: There is a bone and crossbones on the flag. 

14 Feb 2015     


Thanks a lot, dear colleagues

15 Feb 2015