I keep hearing from native speakers the phrases like these:

There is a lot of cars (books, hotels)
There is a couple of cars (books, hotels)
There is five (ten, etc.) of cars (books, hotels)
There is a few of cars (books, hotels)

Nevertheless, somebody told me that the phrases like above are incorrect for sure and there should be there are instead of there is.

Whom could I believe?

  • 1
    In formal English, of course, they should be there are. You can easily find that in any grammar book.
    – Stan
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 5:57
  • @Stan: I suggest you read Shoe's article in the linked thread. 'In most noun phrases with of it is the grammatical number of the head noun, not the noun in the prepositional phrase following it, that determines the grammatical number of the verb. So, we write: The bottle of pills is missing. The bottles of water are now cheaper. But couple, in the noun phrase a couple of, is what the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (p349) calls a number-transparent quantificational noun, meaning that it allows the number of the oblique to percolate up to determine the number of the whole NP....' Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:54
  • 3
    The third and fourth sentences are ungrammatical whichever concord might be required: *There is / are five of cars. *There is / are a few of books. The quantifiers don't take 'of' in these constructions. Commented May 27, 2013 at 6:59
  • @EdwinAshworth: thanks for your comment. I haven't been aware of this before :)
    – Stan
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 7:09
  • See also the balanced treatment 'couple of ... is vs couple of ... are) here at english.stackexchange.com/questions/50435/… . Commented May 27, 2013 at 7:21

1 Answer 1

  • There is a car (singular)

  • "There are a lot of cars." — Correct. (plural)

  • "There are a couple of cars." — Correct.(plural)

  • "There are five cars." — Correct.(plural)

  • "There are a few cars." — Correct.(plural)

  • Sadly your answer is not even half the actual story. Some of the ones you just labeled "correct" are only grammatical in certain dialects or registers, but not in others. If the OP goes ahead and uses them in Standard English without further guidance, he is guaranteed to get in trouble.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 9:29
  • The OP is not a native speaker. If he writes "There is five cars" in a test, his teacher is guaranteed to mark that up as wrong, resulting in a bad grade for him. In fact, if you wrote it in a test at an American or British or Australian school, your teacher would likely mark it up as wrong and give you a bad grade. You can look at answers such as this one for guidance on how to word the same idea more carefully.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 9:40
  • @RegDwighт, get a grip, I don't have a teacher. But I listen to a native speaker who uses those phrases or some of them.
    – Alex
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 0:29

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