There is - There are

English Grammar Notes

We use there is and there are to say that something exists.


Positive Sentences

We use there is for singular and there are for plural.

  • There is one table in the classroom.
  • There are three chairs in the classroom.
  • There is a spider in the bath.
  • There are many people at the bus stop.

Contractions

The contraction of there is is there's.

  • There's a good song on the radio.
  • There's only one chocolate left in the box.

You cannot contract there are.

  • There are nine cats on the roof.
  • There are only five weeks until Christmas.

Negative Form

The negative is formed by putting not after is or are:

  • There is not a horse in the field.
  • There are not eight children in the school.
  • There is not a tree in the garden.
  • There are not two elephants in the zoo.

The Negative contractions are:

There's not = There isn't

There are not = There aren't


There Are with ANY

When we want to indicate that a zero quantity of something exists we use there aren't any.

  • There aren't any people at the party.
  • There aren't any trees in my street.

We also use this structure with uncountable nouns:

  • There isn't any water in the swimming pool.
  • There isn't any sugar in my coffee.

Questions

To form a question we place is / are in front of there.

Again we use any with plural questions or those which use uncountable nouns.

We also use there is / are in short answers.

  • Is there a dog in the supermarket? - No, there isn't.
  • Are there any dogs in the park? - Yes, there are.
  • Is there a security guard in the shop? - Yes, there is.
  • Are there any polar bears in Antarctica? - No, there aren't.
  • Is there any ice-cream in the freezer? - Yes, there is.

How Many with Are There

If we want to find out the number of objects that exist we use How many in the following form:

How many + plural noun + are there (+ complement).

  • How many dogs are there in the park?
  • How many students are there in your class?
  • How many countries are there in South America?
  • How many Star Wars films are there?



Next activity

Try our interactive game to practice There is - There Are.

NEW: Download our free There is There are Worksheet (in PDF).
You can check the answers to this worksheet here: There is There are Answers.


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Last Updated: 31 March 2014