There is There are – English grammar: how to use them

In the English language, the expressions ” There is ” and ” There are ” are used to mean that someone or something exists. You can find them in the affirmative, negative, interrogative and short answers

There is / There are: affirmative form

SINGULAR PLURAL
There is There are

The expression ” There is ” corresponds to the Italian ” there ” and precedes a singular noun.
EXAMPLE:

There is a happy person in the picture.
There is a happy person in the picture.

There is a fly on my plate.
There is a fly on my plate.

It is also used to introduce a list of things when the first noun is singular
EXAMPLE:

In my schoolbag there is a history book, a science notebook, and a diary.
In my backpack is a history book, a science notebook, and a diary.

The expression ” There are ” corresponds to the Italian ” ci sono ” and precedes a plural noun.
EXAMPLE:

There are 8 sad people in the picture.
There are 8 sad people in the picture.

The contracted form of “There is” is ” There’s “, while the contracted form of “There are” doesn’t exist.

There is / There are: negative form

SINGULAR PLURAL
There is not There are not

The negative form is formed by adding ” not ” after “is” or “are”.

There is not is the Italian equivalent of “there is not”. Its abbreviation is “there isn’t”.

There are not is the Italian equivalent of “non ci sono”. Its abbreviation is “there aren’t”.

EXAMPLE:

There isn’t a freezer in the kitchen.
There is no freezer in the kitchen.

There aren’t three glasses of glass.
There are not three glasses of glass.

 

There is / There are: interrogative form

SINGULAR PLURAL
Is there
( Is there …?)
Are there
( Are there …?)

To ask a question, “Is” or “Are” must be placed before “There”.
EXAMPLE:

Is there a clock in the living room?
Is there a clock in the living room?

Are there the two cookbooks in the living room?
Are there the two cookbooks in the living room?

Note that in the interrogative form there is no contracted form.

There is / There are: short answers

SINGULAR PLURAL
Yes, there is
(Yes, no)
Yes, there are
(Yes, there are)
No, there isn’t
(No, there isn’t)
No, there aren’t
(No, there aren’t)

Note that in short answers the contracted form is more used than the integer form (There is not, There are not).

There are + Any

When we want to indicate that there is zero of a quantity of something, we use the expression ” there aren’t any “.
EXAMPLE:

There aren’t any people at the party.
There are no people at the party.

You can also use ” There isn’t any ” but only for uncountable nouns:

There isn’t any water in the swimming pool.
There is no water in the pool.

The term ” any ” in Italian stands for: del , dello , della , dei , degli , delle .
It usually precedes the plural noun in interrogative and negative forms.

How many + Are there

If we want to know the number of existing objects we use ” How many ” in the following way:
How many + plural noun + are there (+ the rest of the sentence).
EXAMPLE:

How many students are there in your class?
How many students are there in your class?

 

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