There's six seasons, dude.

Wouldn't it be:

There're six seasons, dude.

We are talking about multiple items; six seasons. If we refer to multiple items, we should use "Are" in most cases, no?

There's cats everywhere!

There's vans chasing us!

People often use the contraction "There is", plural or not. Wrong?


3 Answers 3


Here is a discussion from Language Log on the use of "there's" with a plural subject. On the basis of Google statistics, the author concludes that:

The contraction there's is used with a plural subject in informal contexts (such as blogs) by people who would never say "There is [several]". In effect There's with a plural noun has become an informal construction rather than a non-standard one, if you define these according to by whom and how often a construction is being used.


Yes, it should be "there're". I suspect that speech has a role in the tendency to substitute "there's" for "there're" because the contraction "there're" is nearly impossible to pronounce clearly. I've heard people use the both contraction "there's" in speech in one instance, and a few moments later, while referring to the same event, use "there are" if full form. I've also witnessed someone testing out a sentence by speaking it, and using "there's", and using the correct contraction when the sentence is written.

  • 3
    No, probly not "there're". It's too hard to pronounce, and contractions are sposta make things easier to pronounce. That's why There's is fixed and often used with plural verbs. There are is fine, but it's quite rare to hear it in colloquial English, and even rarer in print -- after all, it only saves one character and doesn't represent actual pronunciation, so it's hardly worth while. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 20:22
  • @JohnLawler, why do you say contractions are supposed to make things easier to pronounce?
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 16:36
  • They serve a number of functions, of course, but one of them is providing canonical fæspič forms. Most contractions are with auxiliaries and semantically-bleached lexical items, and those are sposta be reduced so as not to distract from the unpredictable parts. So a lot of contractions eliminate phonological complexities like consonant clusters, nasals, and retroflexion, replacing them, if at all, with nasalization and other features. It's clearly not the only purpose, but it is a purpose, judging from the outcome. Commented May 24, 2015 at 16:51

You are correct; using 'there are' for more than one of (or zero of) a thing is correct, while using 'there is' for precisely one of a thing is correct.

However, a lot of verbal informal speech patterns arise from wanting to express things quickly, and "there're" is physically and phonetically slower to say than "there's", which is why improper constructions like the examples you have given tend to come up in colloquial speech.

  • Is 'It's me' an improper construction? You're more likely to get to see Professor Pullum if you choose that answer rather than 'It's I'. How about 'It's us'? The use of 'there's' with plural noun hardly causes a raised eyebrow in most conversations, and is increasingly common in print. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 23:02

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