Homogenised English: there is and there are usage

I have noticed for quite some time now that there is and there are usage seems to be close to being homogenised into the global use of “there is”.

I hear things on TV news like “There’s a lot of problems in …”

I got a promotional email today stating:

“There’s less than 12 hours remaining to take advantage of …”

Hours is plural so why “there is”?

This is much more of a laxness with there is and there are usage on our part as native English speakers, proponents, and standard-bearers for the English language. If we cannot get it right, who can?

“There’s a lot of people in the stadium tonight.” I heard a sports commentator from the UK say this recently.

This is incorrect because people is plural. It is a collective noun meaning more than one.

I have a feeling, and this is totally personal, that because “there is” has a simple contraction to “there’s” (which is easy to say) and “there are” does not, we almost instinctively say “there’s” without thinking about the noun statement that follows.”

Errors with there is and there are usage is benign but it is incorrect.

  • “There is” is used when referring to a single instance.
  • “There are” is used when referring to multiple instances.

Non-plural nouns have to be particularly watched out for.

“There is a sheep in the field.”

“There are sheep in the field.”

From a strict point of English, stating that “There’s sheep in the field.” Is meaningless even though we tend to automatically correct when we hear the sentence. Nevertheless, does the speaker mean, “There’s a sheep in the field” or “There are sheep in the field”? If we automatically correct, did we arrive at what speaker intended to say?

We have to make sure that there is and there are usage is correct or it can cause confusion especially if you make a mistake in class when you are trying to teach people how to use English properly.

“OK class, look at the board. There’s a few examples of there is and there are usage.”


Is anyone else coming to the same conclusion as I am, or am I just being over-sensitive about there is and there are usage?

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