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?
Doesn't sound quite right actually. The correct version would be to contract the 'are' sentence:
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.
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."
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.
There's when referring to more than one thing is an easy mistake to make, but a mistake nonetheless.
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