We usually find this structure there is/are in its three forms:
|AFFIRMATIVE||There is||There are|
|NEGATIVE||There is not||There are not|
|INTERROGATIVE||Is there + …?||Are there + …?|
Short form of the negative form is the same as the short form of to be: “There isn’t/aren’t“.
A more common negative form expression is “there are no / there aren’t” or “there are not any / there aren’t any”.
- There is a cat in the garden.
- There is not a cat in the garden
There isn’t a cat in the garden.
- Is there a cat in the garden?
- There are 10 cats in the garden.
- There are no 10 cats in the garden.
There aren’t 10 cats in the garden.
- Are there 10 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.
- Singular: There is;
- Plural: There are.
— Affirmative: “There is a plate on the table.” (= just one plate) / “There are plates on the table.” (= more than one plate)
— 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)
— Interrogative: “Is there a plate on the table?” (= asking for one plate) / “Are there plates on the table?” (= asking for more than one plate)
The more common negative form is “there is no/there are no”.
— There is no plate on the table. / There are no plates on the table.
NOTE: A 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.