Is or are?

Is or are?

Which is correct?

1. There is an apple and an orange on the table.

or

2. There are an apple and an orange on the table.

The first sentence is correct.

“There is an apple and an orange on the table.”

When you use “a singular form of ‘be’ (which is “is”), 

you are giving a list of items and the first noun in the list is singular or uncountable.

We say,

“There is a chair and a table in this room.”

and NOT

“There are a chair and a table in this room.”

 In the first sentence,

“it is as if the items are being counted separately”

i.e.

There’s a chair and there’s a table in the room”

SO, 

“there’s a chair and table in the room.”

Thus the sentence can be regarded as a short form of saying

There is an apple and there is an orange on the table.”

However, we say

“There are five apples and an orange on the table.”

and

“There is an orange and five apples on the table.”

using the general rule

“that the verb form matches the item(s) that it is adjacent to.” 

bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv128.shtml

You should, however, 

never use is before a plural noun or noun phrase,

example:

“There’s mangoes on the tree.” ( wrong )

or

“There’s five apples on the table.”  ( wrong )

Are should always be used in these kinds of sentences.

Happy Reading.

 

 

 

 

 

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