The Woodward English website claims that


The contraction of there is is there's.

  • There's a good song on the radio.
  • There's only one chocolate left in the box.

You cannot contract there are.

  • There are nine cats on the roof.
  • There are only five weeks until my birthday.

So, can we not say There're nine cats on the roof?

  • Certainly not in formal writing. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 2:54
  • 3
    Yes, there're (anal retentive) websites that will say that. But if you listen to ten different native English speaking Americans saying "There are nine cats on the roof", nine of the ten will likely say "there're", if you listen carefully.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 2:58
  • 3
    I've read arguments even on this website trying to prove that no one even knows how to pronounce there're; but I've always found those odd, since I say there're every single day. My spellcheck disagrees with me, but it can shove off.
    – Anonym
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 3:07
  • 3
    there're rhymes with error and I say it all the time- although I suppose there're times when I wouldn't.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


In speech? Sure you can. In writing? No, not normally. It's considered a colloquialism, so don't write it that way unless you really need that particular sound to be in the reader's ear (like with dialog).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.