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There is or There are ...?

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".