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

Average: 4 (73 votes)

Submitted by howtosay_ on Wed, 04/10/2023 - 01:02

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Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please help me with the following:

I've seen the following sentence in an Oxford Dictionary: "Inside of all of us is a small child screaming for attention". So "there" is missing in this sentence. So, can I say in the same way, for example:

1. In my city are lots of book shopes

2. In the city centre is a good book shop

So, can I skip "there" while not using this structure at the beginning of a sentence!

I'm so much grateful for your precious help and contributing to my knowledge and thank you very much for answering this comment beforehand!

Hello howtosay_,

In certain formal or literary styles, this kind of inversion is occasionally used for rhetorical effect. It's essentially an inversion in which a prepositional phrase (in this instance, 'inside all of us') exchanges place with the subject and thus goes first in the sentence.

I wouldn't recommend you use this sort of style. It's quite unusual and it's likely that people would consider it grammatically incorrect.

It's great that you noticed, this, though! 

Best wishes,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Hello, teacher. I’m a student teacher from Thailand. On the upcoming Monday, I will have to teach some groups of people as a final examination, and I will teach them about ‘there is/there are’. The point is I have to write learning objectives in my lesson plan. Can you please suggest me how to write them based on ‘there is/there are’ topic. Thank you

Hi Nurdin,

I think you may find our Teaching English site helpful, especially the pages in the section on Planning lessons and courses (linked). That is the site for teachers of English (while this site here is for learners of English). I hope you can find what you are looking for there.

Good luck with your lesson!

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Fri, 28/07/2023 - 02:40

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Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please help me with the following:

Which sentence (if any) is correct:

1. I don't try to be nice with bad people. They influence my health badly, so I try to do everything so that there are no bad people in my life.

2. I don't try to be nice with bad people. They influence my health badly, so I try to do everything so that there would be no bad people in my life.

The meaning is "I don't want those people in my life now and in the future and do everything to avoid them".

Many many thanks for your important help and I'm very grateful for the answer to this comment beforehand!!!

Hello howtosay_,

The first one is correct. Since you are talking about now and the future, 'there is/are' is the correct form.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team