Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There are so many questions on this website.

There is so many questions on this website.

The former "sounds right," but the contracted form of the latter does as well:

There's so many questions on this website.

Which is correct?

share|improve this question
    
The contracted form does not sound right. –  SLaks Jan 21 '11 at 19:56
3  
No native English speaker would say "there is so many"; however, many will say "there's so many" even though I cringe at it. –  msanford Apr 18 '11 at 23:35
    
@msanford: Agreed with all except the last six words. Well, it's not that I disagree with you finding it cringe-making - I'm just saying in common speech it doesn't bother me at all. I don't particularly distinguish between "There's so much to do" and "There's so many things to do". –  FumbleFingers Aug 12 '12 at 17:01
    
..."There's so many things" occurs apparently 40,000 times in Google Books, so you face a lifetime of induced misery if you let this one bug you too much! –  FumbleFingers Aug 12 '12 at 17:06
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It is There are so many. There ... are ... many.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There's so many questions on this website.

Doesn't sound quite right actually. The correct version would be to contract the 'are' sentence:

There're so many questions on this website.

share|improve this answer
    
How should "there're" be pronounced? –  Maxpm Jan 15 '11 at 16:35
    
Almost as if the "'re" wasn't there. Not sure if "schwa" is the proper term, but that's what I'm thinking of. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 15 '11 at 17:12
    
I suppose it would be 'there-ah'. A shortened version of 'are'. –  user3444 Jan 17 '11 at 13:26
1  
@Kosmonaut: I don't think it's constructive to use the term 'correct' to describe what's used in Standard English and say, or leave implied, that what's said in Nonstandard English is incorrect. –  Dan Apr 18 '11 at 20:00
    
I also am not sure whether "there're" is an accepted contraction in Standard English. You should use "there are". Whereas Ngrams show that "there are" is around half as frequent as "there is", "there're" is extremely rare compared to "there's". –  Peter Shor Aug 12 '12 at 16:39
show 2 more comments

People here are telling you that "there are" is right. In terms of any kind of Standard English, that is 100% true. When expletive-there + copula is used in the subject position, the copula verb is supposed to agree with the noun phrase to the right.

However, I suspect you are interested in also knowing if there is any significance to your intuition that "there's" sounds acceptable as well.

You are not the only one who finds that construction acceptable. The use of "there's" without regard to number agreement is increasingly common in casual US English. It is as if "there's" is becoming a separate lexical item of its own. Linguistically speaking, such a change would certainly be possible. Additional evidence for this hypothesis comes from what you mentioned in your question, that "there is" sounds bad, but "there's" sounds okay — this suggests some sort of disconnect between the two.

share|improve this answer
    
I'd mark this as the accepted answer if I didn't already choose one. (No offense to the author of the other answers.) :) –  Maxpm Jan 19 '11 at 5:51
1  
I hesitate to say this is the "correct" answer, because I'm using the word "correct" in a somewhat different sense to all those other answers saying only the plural form is "correct". Perhaps I should just say this answer is "a true description of common usage", where the others are wishful thinking, prescriptive, rational, etc.. –  FumbleFingers Aug 12 '12 at 17:13
add comment

To clarify many vs. much:

Use the word 'many' if the object is countable (no matter how larger the number) and treat the noun as a plural. "There are many creatures in the ocean."

Use the word 'much' if the object is measurable but not countable and treat the noun as singular. "There is much water in the ocean."

share|improve this answer
add comment

People here are telling you that "there are" is right. In terms of any kind of Standard English, that is 100% true. When expletive-there + copula is used in the subject position, the copula verb is supposed to agree with the noun phrase to the right.

Respectfully, I don't think it's constructive or accurate to use the term 'correct' to describe what's used in Standard English and say, or leave implied, that what's said in Nonstandard English is 'incorrect'. Nonstandard English, which is what we use for the vast vast majority of our "English use" lives, is every bit as correct as Standard English.

When a structure reaches this degree of use and acceptance and is a linguistically recognized variant, how could it be described as incorrect? I think it still can be described as Nonstandard.

Given its widespread use, I think rather than saying, "Linguistically speaking, such a change would certainly be possible", one would have to say, linguistically speaking, such a change has already occurred and we're still trying to figure out the reasons why.

I see there's as the speaker saying, The situation is -

There's two men at the door - The situation is, two men at the door

This variant also sees widespread use with 'here' - Here's your keys; 'how' - How's your parents/How's your mom and dad?; 'where' - Where's my books?

I'll check a couple of sources to verify my own memory, but I think that studies have shown that there's + plural is much more common than the alternative.

The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English

This was found to be so even in the speech of graduate students and their professors.

[Source: The Grammar Book An ESL/EFL Teachers Course]

My feeling would be that the tendency of professors and grad students would tend towards a use of Standard English and I don't think that they would feel that they had fallen out of that standard when they naturally used there's + plural.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There's when referring to more than one thing is an easy mistake to make, but a mistake nonetheless.

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Jasper Loy Aug 12 '12 at 18:24

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.