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  • Betrifft

    there is vs there are


    Which one is correct?

    There is a cat and two rabits.

    There are a cat and two rabits.

    Verfasser wani (641043) 03 Jun. 23, 22:02

    Meines Wissens ersteres.

    Edit: Bin unsicher.

    Kaninchen schreiben sich rabbits

    double b

    #1Verfasser Seltene Erde (1378604)  04 Jun. 23, 10:10

    Informally, I would certainly say "There's a cat and two rabbits".

    More formally, I think it should be "are". Or one might try to phrase it differently.

    #2VerfasserHecuba - UK (250280) 04 Jun. 23, 10:42

    Or one might try to phrase it differently.

    There are two rabbits and a cat

    umgeht das Grammatikproblem. Ob die Katze mit dieser Zurücksetzung einverstanden ist, steht auf einem anderen Blatt..

    #3Verfasser wienergriessler (925617)  04 Jun. 23, 10:45

    I (also) think both are okay. The second one follows the rule I was taught (in the US) as a child - plural verb with a plural subject. But the first is considered acceptable by many native English speakers (including, I just saw, the Translation Bureau of Canada's Public Works and Government Services department!) , and many writers think it sounds more natural. (It doesn't to me, personally, unless you contract the "there" +"is", as Hecuba did, which, incidentally, you probably would not do in a formal written text).

    BTW, the Canadian Translation Bureau also suggests the writer consider whether rewording would be better: A cat and two rabbits are on the table. (That way you wouldn't have to dis' the cat :)

    #4VerfasserAE procrastinator (1268904)  04 Jun. 23, 11:18

    [OT: Anthropomorphic considerations aside, why the apostrophe after dis?]

    #5Verfasser Marianne (BE) (237471) 04 Jun. 23, 13:04

    Danke Seltene Erde (1378604)! Ein Typo hat sich eingeschlichen.

    Hecuba - UK (250280) The formal answer is There is instead of there are, though I'm not sure if the formal is official / authorised

    wienergriessler (925617) "When life is that easy..."

    AE procrastinator (1268904) It was an exam, can only be one of the both.

    An attached question, which one is correct?

    Here comes the bus!

    Here come the bus!

    Nice Sunday to all!

    #6Verfasser wani (641043) 04 Jun. 23, 13:39

    > It was an exam, can only be one of the both => ... can only be one of the two.

    > Here comes the bus!

    > Here come the bus!

    Only the first is correct - there is no ambivalence in this additional question.

    #7Verfasser Marianne (BE) (237471) 04 Jun. 23, 14:50

    #6 Hecuba - UK (250280) The formal answer is There is instead of there are, though I'm not sure if the formal is official / authorised

    What do you mean by "the formal answer"? Do you mean that this is given as the "correct" answer to the exam question?

    I would say that it's not a good exam question. The answer depends on such things as whether it's spoken or written, the context and the stylistic register.

    #8VerfasserHecuba - UK (250280)  04 Jun. 23, 15:07


    #9Verfasser Seltene Erde (1378604)  04 Jun. 23, 15:54

    Some grammar books teach this:

    But note:

    There are three chairs and a table in the room.

    There’s a table and three chairs in the room.

    The general rule is that the verb form matches the item(s) that it is adjacent to*:


    *This is a simple explanation designed for learners, especially younger learners - a "general rule" that does not apply in all situations.

    Informal English means relaxed, everyday English you use in the street, with your friends or family. In informal English, we often use the short form "there's" with a plural, so we would say "There's two rabbits!" or "There's a cat and two rabbits!". But the long form "There is a cat and two rabbits!" doesn't sound as good - it sounds like bad English.

    Formal English means careful English that you use in important situations - e.g. an academic essay or an official report. In formal English, we don't use the short form "there's", so we would rewrite the sentence, e.g. "There are two rabbits and a cat".

    So an exam in the UK would not have "There is a cat and two rabbits" as the correct answer.

    I agree that this exam question is badly written if the "correct" answer is "there is a cat and two rabbits".

    #10Verfasser CM2DD (236324)  04 Jun. 23, 19:51

    Here's another explanation for the USA, but with "was", which works slightly differently (there is no written short form):

    With compound subjects in which all the coordinate words are singular, a singular verb often occurs, although the plural may also be used: There was (or were ) a horse and a cow in the pasture. When a compound subject contains both singular and plural words, the verb usually agrees with the subject closest to the verb, although a plural verb sometimes occurs regardless, especially if the compound has more than two elements: There were staff meetings and a press conference daily. There was (or were ) a glass, two plates, two cups, and a teapot on the shelf.https://www.dictionary.com/browse/there

    This shows that "There were a horse and a cow in the pasture" or "There were a glass, two plates, two cups, and a teapot on the shelf" are "sometimes" used.

    #11Verfasser CM2DD (236324)  04 Jun. 23, 20:00

    OT: Hallo wani,

    Du bist seit etwa 2009 dabei und hast erst Fragen zu Spanisch, dann Italienisch, selten Französisch und erst seit diesem Jahr auch zu Deutsch gestellt.

    Bitte aktualisiere doch dein Sprachprofil und gib auch deine Muttersprache an (es gibt ein freies Textfeld, wenn die Auswahlmöglichkeiten nicht reichen).

    Manchmal würde es uns helfen, dir deine Fragen besser zu beantworten.

    Danke im voraus!

    #12Verfasser reverend (314585) 04 Jun. 23, 23:43

    OT re #5 - you are right, the apostrophe doesn't belong there. I don't write that word very often, but I think the apostrophe might have sprung out of from a hazy early 80s memory of seeing it written with one back then.

    #13VerfasserAE procrastinator (1268904) 05 Jun. 23, 10:55
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