I am wondering which sentence is correct:

  1. I guess there is at least one apple in the bag.
  2. I guess there are at least one apples in the bag.

It seems to me that the first one sounds better. But I am not sure about it. Because "at least one" can mean 2 or 3...

  • 4
    It doesn’t matter what it actually means – what matters is that the subject is a noun phrase headed by the quantifier one, which always takes a singular. Similarly, if you say “Three fewer than four dogs are running in the garden”, you use the plural because the head is four dogs, regardless of the fact that the sentence really means (in a highly unnatural way) there’s only one dog running in the garden. Aug 21, 2019 at 16:00
  • @Janus- is atleast one apples correct? Aug 21, 2019 at 18:32
  • @JagathaVLNarasimharao “One apples” is never correct. One requires a singular form, not a plural form. Aug 21, 2019 at 19:19
  • There are at least five apples in the bag. at least is invariable.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


Clearly, the verb "is" refers to the apple, regardless of what it is adjacent to. One would say, for example, "At least one of the kids is...", because "is" refers to the "at least one", and is not affected by the fact that it is adjacent to a plural noun ("kids"). Sometimes the ear is fooled by the words that get between elements that need to agree, so that one sometimes hears people say "She gave the books to John and I.", but if you take out "John and", and say it with just the "I" element, you can immediately hear that "me" is correct.


Your first sentence is correct because at least is followed by one apple but your second sentence is wrong because in it at least is followed by one apples.

It should be corrected to:

There are at least two apples in the bag

  • 1
    "There are atleast two apples apples in the bag" makes no sense.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 21, 2019 at 22:18
  • @Marie-Lou then what should we do ? one apples is wrong Aug 22, 2019 at 0:05
  • Look at my comment and what you originally wrote and now after the edit. Do you see the difference? Thanks to the efit, adding the space between 'at' and 'least', and removing the extra 'apples', I can retract my downvote.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 22, 2019 at 5:37
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Now we tread the land of idiom : There's at least two apples in the bag.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 22, 2019 at 7:44
  • Everybody has forgotten: There're: There're at least two people who haven't.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:58

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