Unit 3.2

There is and There are

Introduction

There is/are are expressions used in sentences that want to confirm, deny or check that something exists.

Form

There is/are has the subject after the verb and we usually find them in their three forms:

Affirmative

Singular nouns: There is + singular noun/uncountable noun + …
Plural nouns: There are + plural noun + …

Negative

Singular nouns: There is + not + singular noun/uncountable noun + …
Plural nouns: There are + not + plural noun + …

Negative short forms are: there isn’t/aren’t (the same short forms of to be).

Some more common negative expressions are:

  • there are no there are not any;
  • there aren’t / there aren’t any.

Interrogative

Singular nouns: Is there + singular noun/uncountable noun + …?
Plural nouns: Are there + plural noun + …?

Example

Affirmative:

  • There is a cat under the table.
  • There is a barbecue in my garden.
  • There are ten dogs in the street. 
  • There are tourists around. 

Negative:

  • There is not a thing I don’t know. 
  • There isn’t time to explain. 
  • There are not reasons to lie.
  • There aren’t schools in my hometown. 

Interrogative:

  • Is there a car in the backyard?
  • Is there a way to help you?
  • Are there people outside the house?
  • Are there traffic lights on the main road?

Use

We use There is/are as an expression when we confirm, deny or check that something exists.

Summary

There is (for singular) and there are (for plural) are used when we want to confirm (affirmative), deny (negative) or check (interrogative) that something exists.

For example:
— Affirmative: “There is a white plate.” / “There are white plates.”
— Negative: “There isn’t a white plate.” / “There aren’t white plates.”
— Interrogative: “Is there a white plate? / “Are there white plates?

The more common negative forms are there is no and there are no.

For example:
— “There is no plate on the table.” / “There are no plates on the table.”

NOTE: Another common negative form is there are not any.

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

Exercises


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