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“There are so many” vs. “There is so many”

I was talking with a friend recently, and to entice him to come to an event with cookies.

Which way is correct?

"There's cookies" versus "There are cookies"? The former is the equivalent of saying "There is cookies", which is not correct, but I am under the impression the way I said it is still grammatically valid.

Is it okay to say "There's cookies"?

marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, user1579, RegDwigнt Apr 20 '11 at 18:43

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As long as you actually have the cookies, you can announce them however you like. The presence of cookies often overrides incorrect grammar.

The expression "there's cookies" uses "cookies" as a collective noun instead of a plural noun. A long time ago I heard this mostly in Jewish delicatessens around New York. ("What do you want? There's pickled eggs, there's cake, there's good beef, there's cookies..."). Since then the usage seems to have spread out a little, but not too much. If it is part of written dialog in a piece of fiction, I might interpret it as a hint to the character's background.

  • It's nothing to do with a collective noun. It is because for many people, "there's" has become an invariable presentational, irrespective of whether the item being presented is singular or plural. In the UK this is quite common - maybe not in the US. – Colin Fine Apr 20 '11 at 16:51
  • Absolutely agree. People find it uncomfortable saying "there are" or "they're" for some reason, so it often gets changed to the more common "there's", even though it isn't correct. Not sure where the collective noun came from (a cookies of nuts? Maybe?) – Loquacity Apr 20 '11 at 20:07
  • No idea what an "invariable presentational" is, but "there's cookies" in the US is less common than "there's some cookies" and "there's a bunch of cookies," both of which preserve plural agreement. – mfe Apr 20 '11 at 20:26
  • "There's some cookies" has exactly the same number agreement problem; it would normally expand as "There are some cookies." What we're saying that "There's" has effectively become an oddly-spelt word in its own right that means "There is" or "There are" depending on circumstances. – user1579 Apr 21 '11 at 1:18
  • Doh, right you are. – mfe Apr 21 '11 at 2:44

Simply: No.

Cookies are plural so 'are' is correct.

That said, you might well hear the other. The way it works is by treating 'cookies' as an item rather that a plural and often is used in the specific example you have given: as a temptation. It is not grammatically correct but it does happen.

You're not going to the stag (bachelor's)? Come on... there's strippers! - where 'strippers' is the 'thing' being used as a sweetener.

Hope that helps

  • Disagree - see my reply to mfe – Colin Fine Apr 20 '11 at 16:52

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