There is or There are?

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Should we say there is or there are an apple and two bananas on the table?

That’s multiple things, so we use “there are,” right? Wrong!

After “there,” is/are needs to match the item immediately after it.

An apple is singular, so we say “There is an apple and two bananas on the table.”

If we mention the bananas first, those are plural, so we’d say “There are two bananas and an apple on the table.”

What if we have multiple single items, like a bed, a lamp, and a desk?

The verb still matches the first thing: “There is a bed, a lamp, and a desk in the room.”

There is or There are? Espresso English

There IS a plate and two spoons on the table. There ARE two spoons and a plate on the table.

More examples of “There is”:

  • There is a big project and several smaller ones on my to-do list.
  • There is a notebook and a lunchbox in her backpack.
  • There is an excellent restaurant and a few shops in this neighborhood.
  • There is some old furniture and books in the basement.
  • There is a bottle of soda and a few bags of chips on the table.

More examples of “There are”:

  • There are nine girls and one boy in the dance class.
  • There are lots of snacks and drinks available at the café.
  • There are some earrings and a pair of glasses on the bathroom counter.
  • There are five people on the team and one manager.
  • There are many flowers and one tree in the field.

Short forms of “there is” and “there are”

When writing, we can shorten “there is” to “there’s.”

However, we cannot shorten “there are” to “there’re” – it’s not correct.

When speaking, we typically say “there’s” and “there are” can often sound like “there’re” when speaking fast.

Now you know when to use “there is” or “there are” correctly in English!

By the way, there are a lot of great answers to student questions available for you to download – click here!