Posted by Bruce Kahl on June 05, 2004
In Reply to: There is or There are ...? posted by R. Berg on June 05, 2004
: : : Which of the above is correct or either one is fine?
: : Are. "Number" is plural.
: Um, well, "number" is singular, but "are" is correct.
At first I also thought it was singular but figured you wordsmiths know better.
If you turn the sentence around it is:
A number of problems are/is there.
If "number" is singular it would take a singular verb--"is"-- since problems is the object of a prepositional phrase.
Knocking out the prepositional phrase and the sentence reads: "A number is there" or "There is a number" which sounds perfectly ok.
But using the singular sounds awkward: "There is a number of problems".