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There is - There are

There is - There are

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There is – There are

Declarative Statements



Hello! In this lesson, we will learn how to use the expressions “there is” and “there are”. These expressions are used to indicate the existence of something. “there is” indicates that a single occurrence of the item exists, and “there are” indicates that more than one occurrence of the item exists. These expressions may also be used to draw attention to an item or items, or differentiate items from each other. Let us examine several examples of the use of these expressions.

“There is a tree.” This declarative statement tells us either that a tree exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular tree. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that the indefinite article “a” is used before the singular noun “tree”.

“There are trees.” This declarative statement tells us either that more than one tree exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular group of trees. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that no article is used before the plural noun “trees”.

“There is a bus.” This declarative statement tells us either that a bus exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular bus. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that the indefinite article “a” is used before the singular noun “bus”.

“There are buses.” This declarative statement tells us either that more than one bus exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular group of buses. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that no article is used before the plural noun “buses”.

“There is a woman.” This declarative statement tells us either that a woman exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular woman. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that the indefinite article “a” is used before the singular noun “woman”.

“There are women.” This declarative statement tells us either that more than one woman exists, or is used to direct our attention to a particular group of women. The choice between these two possible meanings is dictated by the context of the conversation. Notice that no article is used before the plural noun “women”.

Let us examine several examples of the use of these expressions in conjunction with the definite article “the” to differentiate items from each other.

In the statement “There is the woman.” our attention is being drawn to one particular woman who is known from the context of the conversation.

In the statement “There is the red car.” our attention is being drawn to one particular car which is known from the context of the conversation.
In the statement “There are the flowers.” our attention is being drawn to one particular group of flowers which are known from the context of the conversation.

In the statement “There are the children.” our attention is being drawn to one particular group of children which are known from the context of the conversation.

It is also possible to provide more information in a declarative statement using “there is” or “there are” by using adjectives. For example, we might say “There is a beautiful woman.” or “There are red cars.” Each of these examples indicate the existence of something and also provide more information about the subject of the statement.

Finally, we will examine how to make a declarative statement that something does not exist. We may indicate that an individual item does not exist using either “there is not” or “there is no”. For example, we may say “There is not a car.” to indicate that a car does not exist. Equally, we may say “There is no car.” This declarative statement has the exact same meaning as the first statement. Notice that when the form “no” is used, we do not need to use the indefinite article “a” or “an”.

Another example, we may say “There is not an apple.” to indicate that “an apple” does not exist. Equally, we may say “There is no apple.” This declarative statement has the exact same meaning as the first statement. Notice that when the form “no” is used, we do not need to use the indefinite article “a” or “an”.

Similarly, we may indicate that a group of items do not exist using either “there are not” or “there are no”. For example, we may say “There are not cars.” to indicate that “cars” do not exist.

Equally, we may say “There are no cars.” This declarative statement has the exact same meaning as the first statement. Notice that when the plural form “cars” is used, we do not need to use the indefinite article “a” or “an”.

Another example, we may say “There are not apples.” to indicate that “apples” do not exist. Equally, we may say “There are no apples.” This declarative statement has the exact same meaning as the first statement. Notice that when the plural form “apples” is used, we do not need to use the indefinite article “a” or “an”.

Wonderful!  Now that you have a basic understanding of “there is” and “there are”, it is your turn to practice speaking in English.