There “IS” or There “ARE” More Than One? Unraveling the Grammar Dilemma

Marcus Froland

When it comes to English grammar, even the smallest words can trip you up. Take “is” and “are,” for instance. They seem straightforward, right? But throw in a phrase like “more than one,” and suddenly, you’re in a maze trying to find the exit. You might think you know the way out, but a second look could reveal a different path.

This isn’t just about getting it right or wrong. It’s about understanding how English works in real-life situations. When we talk about quantities and existence, the choice between “is” and “are” can change the meaning of your sentence. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, there’s a twist waiting around the corner.

When deciding between “there is” and “there are”, the key lies in the subject’s number. Use “there is” for a singular subject and “there are” for a plural subject. However, when talking about more than one of something, the choice can seem tricky. The rule of thumb is to match the verb with the subject that follows. For example, if you say “There is more than one apple,” “apple” is singular, so “is” is correct. Conversely, if you’re referring to multiple items, like in “There are more than one reasons,” it sounds odd because “reasons” is plural but should be singular to fit the structure, making the correct form “There is more than one reason.” Always look at the noun after “more than one” to decide whether to use “is” or “are.”

Understanding Singular vs. Plural Forms in English

In the English language, mastering the nuances of singular form and plural form is crucial to having an impressive command over the language. These distinctions influence the subject-verb concord and play a substantial role in forming coherent and grammatically correct sentences. In this section, we break down the fundamentals of singular and plural nouns and their effects on verb usage.

Typically, nouns precede verbs in English sentences, dictating whether a singular or plural verb should follow. However, in sentences beginning with “there is” or “there are,” the noun appears later, and the verb form must agree with this subsequent noun regardless of any interceding quantifiers or modifiers.

Here are a few important differences between singular and plural nouns:

  1. A singular noun refers to only one person, place, thing, or idea. Examples include cat, book, tree.
  2. A plural noun refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Examples include cats, books, trees.

Now that we have a basic understanding of singular and plural nouns, let’s explore how they impact the subject-verb concord in different sentence structures:

Sentence Structure Singular Example Plural Example
Regular sentence The cat is sleeping. The cats are sleeping.
There is/are construction There is a cat on the mat. There are cats on the mat.
With quantifiers and modifiers There is a large number of stars in the sky. There are several stars visible tonight.

Remember: The verb form must agree with the subsequent noun in sentences beginning with “there is” or “there are,” regardless of any interceding quantifiers or modifiers.

By grasping the fundamentals of singular and plural forms in the English language, you can ensure that your sentences consistently adhere to the correct subject-verb concord, resulting in structurally accurate and coherent communication.

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Common Misconceptions in Numerical Agreement

When it comes to numerical agreement, many learners of English are uncertain about whether to use “is” or “are” in certain sentences. This confusion stems from the subtleties in grammar nuances and correct usage of the language. In this section, we’ll cover the influence of ‘more than’ on subject-verb concord and misleading plurality when ‘one’ dictates the verb form.

The Influence of ‘More Than’ on Subject-Verb Concord

One common misconception is that phrases like “a number of” or “a variety of” make sentences automatically plural. This, however, is not always the case. The subject’s singularity or plurality determines the correct usage of “is” or “are” in such sentences. For example:

There is a number of unnamed stars (emphasizing the collective).

There are a number of unnamed stars (highlighting individual members).

The same subtleties apply to similar phrases like ‘a variety of’, where the emphasis is placed either on the assortment as a whole or the individual elements within. It is crucial to focus on the noun’s number and select the appropriate verb form accordingly.

Misleading Plurality: When ‘One’ Dictates the Verb Form

The expression ‘more than one’ may imply plurality, but it maintains singular verb agreement, as the term ‘one’ presides over the verb form. Consequently, “There is more than one candidate for this job” is considered correct, despite suggesting a latent quantity with “more than one.” This misleading plurality can cause confusion for learners of English, leading to errors in sentence structure. Here are some examples to remember:

  1. There is more than one way to solve the problem.
  2. There is more than one error in the document.
  3. There is more than one reason for their success.

Understanding these grammar nuances and applying the correct usage of “is” and “are” in sentences involving numerical agreement will significantly improve sentence structure and clarity. Always remember to focus on the noun’s number, regardless of any phrases like ‘more than’ or ‘a number of’, to determine the appropriate verb form.

The Definitive Guide to “There is” vs. “There are”

As a proficient user of the English language, you might still face the dilemma of choosing between “there is” and “there are.” Your journey toward grammatical clarity begins here, with this definitive guide that simplifies English grammar and makes choosing the right verb a breeze. By focusing on the noun’s number, you’ll easily determine whether to use “there is” or “there are.”

Consider the essential grammatical agreement rule: a singular noun demands “there is,” while a plural noun requires “there are.” With that in mind, keep the following tips handy to avoid falling into common traps:

  1. Ignore intervening phrases like “a number of” or “a variety of” – focus on the noun that follows these phrases.
  2. Remember that uncertainty about using “is” or “are” usually implies some level of intervening complexity. Simplify the sentence to find the main subject and agree upon the verb form accordingly.
  3. When multiple subjects are listed, treat them as distinct entities and choose the verb form accordingly. For example, “There are three cats and a dog.”

Never underestimate the importance of context when determining the proper use of “there is” or “there are.”

Now, let’s compare two sentences side by side:

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There is There are
There is a variety of pizza toppings available. There are many pizza toppings available.
There is a cat and a dog in the garden. There are several cats and a dog in the garden.

In each instance, the choice between “there is” and “there are” boils down to the number of the noun following the verb. This straightforward rule will help you confidently construct sentences without hesitation.

Mastering the use of “there is” and “there are” involves understanding the noun’s number and setting aside any distracting phrases. Keep practicing and referring back to this definitive guide to fortify your English grammar expertise and achieve grammatical agreement every time.

Grammatical Nuances When Dealing with Number Phrases

English grammar possesses certain complexities that can lead to confusion, especially when working with number phrases. Such phrases often blur the lines between singular and plural forms, throwing the rules of subject-verb agreement into question.

Dealing with numerical phrases where the count is either more than ten or has an ambiguous distinction between individual items and the group as a whole can further complicate matters.

For example, consider the following sentences:
There is a group of ten co-workers going to lunch.
There are ten co-workers going to lunch.

In this instance, it’s important to distinguish between the two scenarios. The first sentence emphasizes the collective group, while the second focuses on the specific individuals.

To address such grammatical nuances, let’s examine the use of “there is” and “there are” in relation to various number phrases andverb agreement.

Number Phrases and Verb Agreement

As mentioned earlier, the phrase “there is/are more than one” demands a singular verb. This might seem counterintuitive, considering that “more than one” implies a plural quantity. However, the singular form still prevails due to the proximity of “one” to the noun.

  1. There is more than one car in the parking lot.
  2. There are more than two dogs in the backyard.

On the other hand, when dealing with plural numbers or items, “there are” should be used. The key lies in determining whether the focus is on individual items or the group as a whole.

Number Phrase Appropriate Verb Example
“There is/are more than one” + singular noun Singular (“there is”) There is more than one book on the shelf.
“There is/are more than ten” + plural noun Plural (“there are”) There are more than ten books on the shelf.

Diligence and attention to these grammar guidelines can help you understand the subtleties of number phrases and ensure verb agreement in your writing.

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Mastering Proper Usage: Tips and Tricks

When it comes to mastering grammar and choosing the right verb form, understanding the nuances of numerical expressions and the role of context is crucial. To achieve proper usage, particularly in sentences involving the phrase “more than one,” focus on the noun’s singularity or plurality and how it dictates the choice between “is” and “are.”

Clarifying the “More Than One” Conundrum

Although “more than one” seems plural, it requires a singular verb (“there is”) since the term “one” governs the noun. This rule persists regardless of the specific scenario being described – whether it’s a person, object, or concept. For instance, “There is more than one person coming” is considered correct as the proximity of “one” to the noun demands a singular verb form.

The Role of Context in Determining the Right Choice

Context plays a pivotal role in making the right grammatical choice. The proper usage of “there is” and “there are” spans across various sentence structures, requiring you to consider the overall message and emphasis – either on the collective noun or its constituents. In turn, this context shapes the grammatical appropriateness of “is” versus “are.”

Practical Examples to Reinforce Your Understanding

To reinforce your understanding of “there is” and “there are” usage, practicing with practical examples is invaluable. For instance, notice the distinction between “There is more than one person coming” – which uses singular agreement due to “one” being next to the noun – and “There are more than two candidates,” where “two” is inherently plural and correctly employs a plural verb.

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