15 There is/are

Verbs

There is/are are expressions used in sentences that want to confirm (when Affirmative), deny (when Negative) or check (when Interrogative), that something exists.

We usually find this structure There is/are in its three forms:

There is (for singular nouns):

  • Affirmative: We use there is;
  • Negative: We use there isn’t;
  • Interrogative: We use is there.

There are (for plural nouns):

  • Affirmative: We use there are;
  • Negative: We use there aren’t;
  • Interrogative: We use are there.

There is

  • There is a cat in the garden.
  • There isn’t a cat in the garden.*
  • Is there a cat in the garden?

*A more common expression is “there is no”, e.g. There is no cat in the garden.

 There are

  • There are 10 cats in the garden.
  • There aren’t 10 cats in the garden.*
  • Are there 10 cats in the garden?

*A more common expression is “there are no”, e.g. There are no cats in the garden. or “there are not any”, e.g. There aren’t any cats in the garden.

In this kind of clause “there” is called the “dummy subject”, in fact, it is a sort of preparatory subject that foretells the presence of the real subject somewhere else in the clause.

There is/are is used when we want to confirm (Affirmative), deny (Negative) or check (Interrogative) that something exists.

  • There is for singular;
  • There are for plural.

For example:
— Affirmative: There is a plate on the table. (= just one plate)-There are plates on the table. (= more than one plate)” = We use the Affirmative form to confirm the presence of a plate on the table.
Negative:There isn’t a plate on the table. (= deny just one plate is on the table) – There aren’t plates on the table (= maybe one plate but not many plates) ” = We use the Negative form to deny the presence of a plates on the table.*
*The more common form is “there is no/there are no”, e.g. There is no plate on the table. – There are no plates on the table.
Interrogative:Is there a plate on the table? (= asking for one plate) – Are there plates on the table? (= asking for more than one plate)” = We use the Interrogative form to ask information about the presence of a plate on the table.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.