There Is, There Are, There Was, And There Were

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There Is, There Are, There Was, And There Were

Post  TEFL Teacher on Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:30 pm

When a clause begins with one of these expressions, the verb should agree with the first noun or pronoun after the verb, as long as that noun or pronoun is not part of a modifying phrase or clause.

There is no doubt that eating habits are changing in the USA.

A decade ago, there were no labels on packages boasting, "All natural; no preservatives."

Besides, there is now, among many young people, a ritual of daily diet and exercise.

Notice that in the last example above, the first noun after the verb is people. But it's part of a modifying phrase, so the fact that it is plural is irrelevant. The next noun is ritual, and that's the one that matters. When you look after the verb and find the first noun outside a modifying phrase or clause, note whether it is singular or plural and then choose the verb to match:

SINGULAR : There is / There was
PLURAL : There are / There were
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