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I'm using a website - www.ixl.com - to teach my child how to count American coins, amongst other activities. The site also has many questions on English grammar.

One thing that doesn't seem right - and perhaps I'm missing something here - is their conjugation of the response to "How much money is there?"

Here is an example of what I'm referring to: enter image description here

I've never encountered the question where there's only a single penny (1¢) displayed. Thus there are always several cents. I would have thought that the answer should be conjugated with the plural conjugation.

Is the correct answer to "How much money is there?" (in the case of the three 1¢ coins and the 5¢ coin shown in the image) "There are eight cents."? Or am I missing something?

EDITED: There might be a previous question on this site whose answer would be applicable to this OP's question, but neither of those two threads cited to mark this OP's thread as a "duplicate" has an answer for the OP's question: the 1st "duplicate" thread discusses "A total of X" and its number when it is a subject, the 2nd thread involves a possible subject-dependent inversion with a measurement phrase with a sentence beginning with "Here". This OP's specific question deals with numerous topics, and its sentence also involves a leading "There", which ends up making the issue even more involved. Please get the duplicate mark off this thread so I can give the OP an answer. -- F.E.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, RyeɃreḁd, RegDwigнt Apr 19 '14 at 17:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    I'll try to write you an answer later on. :) -- I'll also try to write an answer for one of those other threads, too. – F.E. Apr 19 '14 at 20:04
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    Another point is that expression "8 cents", for it can be considered to be a measurement phrase. In general, when a measurement phrase is the subject, then, singular number override is often possible; and when singular override is possible, then sometimes the override optional, or strongly preferred, or in some rare cases even mandatory. But that expression "8 cents" is NOT the subject. Though, the stuff to the right-hand-side of the main verb does usually influence the writer's decision as to verb number. Context of the writer's prose is king. Clauses like those two in the . . . – F.E. Apr 20 '14 at 2:37
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    Thank you for your explanation F.E. As a user of the StackOverflow site (for software developers), on which the focus is about building a collection of knowledge, I find it disappointing that this question has been marked as a duplicate so quickly. As F.E. has noted, the linked questions are only somewhat similar in nature. For those who come to the site (via a question), and then encounter an obtuse link to an only somewhat similar question, and then have to continue to dig through the links for an answer, this must be immensely frustrating. Not a good experience for my first question here. – CJBS Apr 20 '14 at 5:00
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    @Mari-LouA Afraid not. That other thread's question is not a duplicate of this OP's question, nor does it provide an answer to the the OP's specific question. The accepted answer has, near the bottom of its post, some overgeneralized info on the existential construction, and the link to Oxford Dictionaries that it provided does not deal with existentials. In that post is this: There is/are a total number of ten babies. [?!] I will not comment on this. So my conclusion still stands. Those threads do not answer this OP's question. This thread should not have been closed. – F.E. Apr 21 '14 at 23:40
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    Off topic: Even when an OP's question is somewhat similar to another question (grammatically that is) it's often beneficial for a specific answer to be crafted: good for both the OP and for the answers, for it allows other members to get better by wording grammatically accurate answers and indirectly by learning more by researching those answers. That's how a community grows and develops. – F.E. Apr 21 '14 at 23:58
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I'm not American but I think you can find both: "There are eight cents" and "There is (a total/an amount of) eight cents".

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    In the UK, you'd only use plural agreement if numbering the coins. 'There are eight pennies' but 'there is eight pence'. There could be a five pence piece and three pennies, echoing OP's illustration. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 19 '14 at 13:52
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Q: How much time is there before the New Year?

A: There is exactly two minutes and thirty-five seconds (before the New Year).

Q: How many football players are there in the bus?

A: There are exactly thirty-five (football players in the bus).

And so, to the question "How much money is there?" My answer will be:

"There is eight cents."

  • Time is of course continuous. The expression 'There is exactly two minutes and thirty-five (.000...) seconds' will only be true for an instant, and never at the instant it 'has just finished being spoken'. There will even be a finite time before the spoken words are heard by person B, and different ones for C etc. We use such expressions loosely. Measurements of continuous variables (length, time, mass, temperature ...) are afforded singular agreement. Imagine saying '12 degrees are too cold'. But sometimes discrete variables (esp. cash I'm carrying) are treated in the same grammatical way. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 19 '14 at 13:46
  • I don't understand how "There is ... two minutes" is conjugated correctly -- just like in the question. There is more than one minute, just the plural should be used. Again, unless I'm missing something. – CJBS Apr 20 '14 at 4:45

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