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Unit 3.1

There is/are


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

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

  • 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

  • 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.

For example:
— 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”.

For example:
— 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.


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