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I recently encountered someone who said and I quote " it is grammatically wrong to say there is a lot of apples on the table because "apples" is plural and needs "are" as a verb. He claimed that this an exapmle of native English speaker using wrong grammar."

I disagreed and argued that

1) with there is/are inversion applies, and the subject is placed after the verb Be.

2) since "apples" is object of preposition, it is not the subject of the sentence (thus no agreement between "apples and be"), instead " a lot" is the subject, and it is singular, so it's correct to say "there is a lot of +plural n.", and "there are a lot of + plural n." is incorrect.

Which ones are correct and which ones are wrong?!

There is  a lot of apples on the table.

There are a lot of apples on the table.

There is lots of apples on the table.

There are lots of apples on the table.



Could you please explain the grammar?!

Thanks

Original Post

Hi, Vahidkiaa,

@vahidkiaa posted:

I recently encountered someone who said and I quote " it is grammatically wrong to say there is a lot of apples on the table because "apples" is plural and needs "are" as a verb. He claimed that this an exapmle of native English speaker using wrong grammar."

I disagreed and argued that

1) with there is/are inversion applies, and the subject is placed after the verb Be.

2) since "apples" is object of preposition, it is not the subject of the sentence (thus no agreement between "apples and be"), instead " a lot" is the subject, and it is singular, so it's correct to say "there is a lot of +plural n.", and "there are a lot of + plural n." is incorrect.

Which ones are correct and which ones are wrong?!

There is  a lot of apples on the table.

There are a lot of apples on the table.

There is lots of apples on the table.

There are lots of apples on the table.



Could you please explain the grammar?!

Thanks

Grammatically speaking, 'a lot of' is a quantifier here, just like 'many'. It modifies either a plural noun or an uncountable noun. With plural nouns, a plural verb is used. With uncountable nouns, a singular verb is used. Since apples is a plural noun, the correct answers are those using 'are'.

BTW, there is not much difference between using 'a lot of' and 'lots of' in your examples. Another important point is that, in informal conversation, it is common for some native speakers to use the contracted form 'there's' with both plural and singular nouns. See David's answer here:

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...-s-only-three-people

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