Monday 28 January 2008

AAE 121: 'there is a lot of...'

Hello, Matt,

I would like to ask you about one think. I´ve been to England and I think I've heard them say

"there is a lot of dogs/students/people.."

but now, studying English, I´m not sure that much.

Is it correct to say 'there is or there are a lot of.. '

thank you for the answer.

take care Vanda

Hi Vanda

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 examples the subject is 'a lot' which is singular. Therefore the correct answer is:

There is a lot of.....

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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Then I guess there is a difference between "a lot of" and "lots of"
There is a lot of dogs
There are lots of dogs
There are loads of dogs

Is that correct?