Using 'there is' and 'there are'

Using 'there is' and 'there are'

Do you know how to use there is and there are? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we use there is and there are.

There's a very big park in my city.
There aren't any street markets.
There are no restaurants in the station.
But there's a café and a bank.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar A1-A2: Using 'there is' and 'there are': 1

Grammar explanation

Affirmative

We use there is to say that something exists or is in a place.

There is a bridge in the park.

We use there is for singular nouns and there are for plural nouns.

There is a restaurant in the station.
There are two cafés in the shopping centre.

We can say there's instead of there is. We often say this when we speak. But there is no short form for there are.

There is a restaurant in the station. > There's a restaurant in the station.
There are two cafés. > There're two cafés.

When we are speaking informally and make a list of things, we often use there is or there's instead of there are.

There's a café, a supermarket and a bus stop on my street.
(Instead of There are a café, a supermarket and a bus stop on my street.)

Negative

For negatives, we use there isn't or there's not (= there is not) for singular and there aren't (= there are not) for plural. 

There isn't a pharmacy near the hotel.
There aren't any restaurants near the hotel.

We often use there isn't a + singular noun, there isn't any + uncountable noun and there aren't any + plural noun.

There isn't a café near here.
There isn't any milk.
There aren't any toilets in the park.

To show that the negative is important, we also often use there is no + uncountable noun and there are no + plural noun. (It is possible to use there is no + singular noun, but it's not as common.)

There's no milk.
There are no toilets in the park.

Questions

For questions, we say Is there for singular nouns and uncountable nouns and Are there for plural nouns. 

Is there a café near here?
Is there any milk in the fridge?
Are there any toilets in the park?

To answer, we say Yes, there is (not Yes, there's) or No, there isn't, or Yes, there are or No, there aren't.

Is there a café near here? Yes, there is. / No, there isn't.
Is there any milk in the fridge? Yes there is. / No, there isn't.
Are there any toilets in the park? Yes, there are. / No, there aren't.

Here is a summary of these forms.

  singular plural
affirmative there is
there's
there are
negative there is not
there isn't
there's not
there are not
there aren't
negative + a/any there isn't a ... (countable)
there isn't any ... (uncountable)
there aren't any ...
negative + no there is no ...  there are no ...
question Is there ...? Are there ...?

Other verb tenses

We can use there is and there are in many other verb tenses.

There was a storm last night. (Past simple)
There were a lot of cars on the roads yesterday. (Past simple)
There will be a lot of people at the shopping centre tomorrow. (Future simple)

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar A1-A2: Using 'there is' and 'there are': 2

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