I found this phrase:

So what is it about habits that makes something like biting your fingernails so hard to stop, while making something like running a couple half marathons per week possible? There’s three things to know about why habits develop whether you want them to or not.

Is that correct (in formal English/grammar)? Should not we write There are three things ... instead?


The combination of there's with a plural noun is common in informal English. This is particularly the case in spoken language, in which there's rolls off the tongue more easily than there are.

The usage should be avoided in formal English, however. And note that is not permissible to use the uncontracted form:

*There is three things to know about ... .

Here is an extract from the Cambridge Dictionary's page on There is, there's and there are:

In speaking and in some informal writing, we use there’s even when it refers to more than one. This use could be considered incorrect in formal writing or in an examination:

  • There’s three other people who are still to come.

  • There’s lots of cars in the car park.


  • 2
    Of course, the example with "lots of cars" falls into that fuzzy space between singular and plural, when we're dealing with an aggregate rather than with enumerated individuals. Similarly, "there's six inches of snow in the car park". Saying "There are six inches of snow" would seem very stilted. And of course, "There's a pair of trousers in the wardrobe". – Michael Kay Oct 2 '17 at 14:52

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