I haven't ever read "Here is the potatoes." but I have read/heard sentences like "Here's the potatoes." and "Here are the potatoes."

Look at the following sentences:

  • Here's the details.
  • Here’s all the ways you can look at this problem.
  • Here’s some things you should know.

I found the following, but it's difficult to find more than plain opinions.

Actually, though, there’s no prohibition against using “here’s” before a plural. As with “there’s,” you could make the case that putting “here’s” before a plural is standard in common speech -- idiomatic. So I’m not critical of people who make that choice unless they happen to be members of the media writing for publication. News organizations strive to avoid sloppy, informal, ungrammatical forms. They hold themselves to a higher standard, which seems like a good idea to me.

(Citation: 'Here's' or 'There's' Before a Plural – Grammar Underground with June Casagrande)

I acknowledge it is not convention or purist to do so, but rather how English is used by a dominant percentage of English speakers around the world (arguable).

QUESTION: Can you provide some literature that explains the phenomenon, and provide some insight on whether the use of "Here's" is legitimate before plurals while expressing colloquial English?

  • 1
    Your cited quote actually calls that form "sloppy, informal, [and] ungrammatical". That should answer the question on whether it should be used.
    – Hank
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:20
  • 1
    hi @BladorthinTheGrey I made sure you find the question, find it in bold letters, by the label question, all capitals. Also edited the question, to reflect that is not a duplicate of what it was asked before.
    – edgarator
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:21
  • 1
    Thanks @hank, as stated before, that's an opinion. I was looking for some documented reference or explanation behind its use. The fact that people use it, made me wonder, regardless of how "Sloppy, informal or ungrammatical" that might be.
    – edgarator
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    In certain languages everyday use of the language supersedes documented grammatical structures, which in turn allows a language to grow and live. I haven't read ever "here is the potatoes" but I have read "here's the potatoes" and "here are the potatoes". It is my gut feeling, that people is more permissive of the contraction, than the actual "is" word spelled out completely, and that was what my question was about. If you think it's duplicated, go ahead and flag it, no dramas. I'm still itching with curiosity, and thanks to you both.
    – edgarator
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    @HotLicks of course it is wrong for standard English (even most people informally). But it occurs with regularity so possibly it will become the correct way to say it in some future variety of English. And if those 'illiterates' become the political leaders, it may well become expected literate standard for everybody.
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


"Here's" seems to be used before plurals in colloquial contexts

"Here's the details" doesn't seem strange to me in a colloquial context. I agree with the comparison to "there's." You can see from the comments beneath your question that there are a fair amount of examples in English-language corpora (I can't verify this information at the moment, but it shouldn't be too hard to check if you doubt this).

The prescribed "correct" form is "Here are [plural noun phrase]"

You already know this. I don't think there's much more to say about that subject. Of course, different people have different levels of deviation from the prescribed standard and tolerance for such deviations by other people.

It is grammatical, if we use a linguist's definition of "grammatical"

"Ungrammatical" is not really well-defined in the sense it is used in that quotation. If the author just meant that "Here are the details" is preferable when writing for publication, I agree.

Arguably, though, "here's [plural noun]" is more consistent with the underlying grammar that native English speakers acquire than "Here are [plural noun]". Nicholas Sobin argued in "Agreement, Default Rules, and Grammatical Viruses" that plural agreement in expletive constructions such as "There's" is actually a "linguistically deviant" phenomenon that occurs as a special prestige form not generated by the grammar of English (the supposed mechanism for this is described by his "grammatical virus" theory).

The "grammatical virus" analysis of plural agreement has been contested by some other linguists (for a more recent paper on the subject that discusses some of the subsequent literature, see Fournier), but the reason I bring this up is to point out that it's not as simple as it might seem to figure out how grammar works.

And in fact, it seems like Schütze, one of the critics of the "grammatical virus" explanation for plural agreement in expletives, agrees with Sobin that singular agreement with plural nouns is grammatical (Schütze just thinks that plural agreement is also grammatical).

All of the previously-mentioned papers seem to focus on the "There's/There is/There are" construction. However, "here" is also an expletive, so it seems likely that the same or similar grammatical principles apply to the "Here's/Here is/Here are" construction. Edwin Ashworth found an example with "Here's" in Schütze that is taken from a 1984 paper by Randall B. Sparks titled "Here's a Few More Facts". Sparks notes that 's may also occur before a plural noun in questions beginning with where, when, how and what (such as "Where's my pants") and proposes that it occurs in declarative sentences "that are possible answers to these types of questions" (Sparks 180).


Also, after writing this answer I found something written by Sobin that is accessible (at least for me) from Google Books, "Prestige English Is Not a Natural Language"

  • I would argue that it's not what you would or you wouldn't do while writing english in a purist way, but rather how english is used by the 99% of english speakers that don't give a dime about grammatical structures as you do guys.
    – edgarator
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:20
  • 2
    Care has to be taken to distinguish existential and locative there. However, from the Schütze reference: << (c) It is not lexically restricted to sentences containing there. This can be seen in several ways. As has often been noted in the literature, many speakers accept sentences such as (28a–b).... (28) a. Here’s the books you ordered. (Sparks 1984) // b. Where’s your books? (cf. DeWolf 1992) >> Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:38
  • Well, I am a foreigner who learned English without paying too much attention to grammar rules mostly from live conversations. When I noticed that native speakers use constructions like "how's things?" quite a lot I explained this to myself so that if I can substitute such constructions with "how's [set / group / multitude of] things?", "it's [the group / team / pack :-) of] us", etc. then it's quite grammatical to me. This is just my perception I believe might seem interesting to someone. Commented Jun 14 at 18:43

At least a huge minority of native speakers - quite possibly, most - will without thought use "Here's the potatoes” at least in speech, and many also in writing. Unless we dispute that, the real question is whether grammar is - or should be - dictated or democratic.

Does anyone dispute that all who care, know that "Here are the potatoes" is always correct and "Here is the potatoes" always that other thing so many prefer not to name?

Does anyone dispute that “Here's the potatoes” should always be, and often is “Here’re the potatoes”?

Either way do laziness or ignorance or "linguistic deviance” constitute anything other than… uh… “deviance” and either way, what does “deviance” mean? Who thinks “deviance” can usefully mean anything other than “deviance… from the right or true or straight or narrow”?

Does the fact that many of the here-posted comments and answers focus on such exciting, imaginative, informative - even inspiring - niceties as the difference between "There's/There is/There are" and "Here's/Here is/Here are" say more about language, or about whether pin-dancing is as popular with today’s pundits as ever it was with angels?

  • By "deviance", Sobin means "deviance from naturally acquired rules of grammar". To linguists, the most interesting part of grammar is the rules that native speakers use without thought, not the rules that speakers learn in school and consciously apply to avoid being thought of as "lazy" or "ignorant".
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 22:42
  • I find that "at least a huge minority" barely communicates something. Same thing with "at least with speech, and many also in writing". Found them both fascinating as well, because it sounds good. God I love linguistics.
    – edgarator
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:05
  • @Sumelic thanks and taking your word for what Sobin means, what are "naturally acquired" as opposed to any other rules of grammar, please? To my mind that sounds like you're talking more about philology than linguistics but what would I know, and what would that matter? It still comes down to dictation or democracy and which would you prefer, please? Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:15
  • The idea is that all humans acquire the grammar of their native language as children. They aren't consciously aware of the rules that they're following. (For example, native English speakers don't have to remember to put the subject before the verb before the object in regular declarative sentences.)
    – herisson
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:19
  • @edgarator Please explain "barely communicates something". Do you think you know someone who wouldn't understand "at least a huge minority"? Same thing with "at least with speech, and many also in writing". I'm glad you found them fascinating but where was there any confusion, please? God, I love language. Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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