Using ‘There Is’ and ‘There Are’

The difference between there is and there are relates to numbers: we use there is to talk about one subject (singular), and there are to talk about more than one subject (plural).

The basic rules are:

  • A singular subject takes a singular verb
  • A plural subject takes a plural verb.
  • Subject and verb must always agree. (You can read more about this in subject/verb agreement.)

For example:

  • There is the Droid you are looking for.
  • There are the Droids you are looking for.

Usage

We use there is if the subject of the sentence is a singular noun or pronoun (‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘child’, etc.):

  • There is the cat.
  • There is my son.
  • There is the park.

We use there are if the subject of a sentence is a plural noun or pronoun (‘people’, ‘cats’, ‘dogs’, ‘robots’):

  • There are my friends.
  • There are two pairs of socks in the drawer.
  • There are more than 20 people at this party.
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