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Thursday, 9 August 2007

AAE Q88: subject and verb agreement

Please, which one is correct:

  1. There is a lot of apples in the basket.
  2. There are a lot of apples in the basket.
(I never know when to use is or are with expression: a lot of)

Thank you for your answer!


Hi,

The subject and verb must agree in number: both must be singular or both must be plural. Often the verb follows the subject (e.g. My children like playing football) but in sentences beginning with there is or there are, the subject follows the verb. Since there is not the subject, the verb agrees with what follows.

There are many questions.
There is a question.

In your example the subject is 'a lot' which is singular. Therefore the correct answer is:

There is a lot of apples in the basket.
However the usage "there are a lot..." is very common and because a language is defined by its popular usage, it is now often considered correct

For more information about making subjects and verbs agree, click here.

Hope this helps

Matt

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