There is / there are a lot of people

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  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think "There are a lot of people" is the correct one, but you'd hear "There is a lot of people" quite frequently, which must be why I had to think about this question for a bit!

    Nevertheless, I think I'd write, based on that sentence only, "Many people are in the classroom," or perhaps another verb besides "to be" if context allows it.
     

    arxilaxis

    Member
    Spanish
    Hola a todos!! Tengo una duda en la siguiente expresión, porque creo haberla visto de las dos formas. ¿ Me podéis ayudar y decirme cuál es la forma correcta o si ambas lo son?
    Gracias.

    There is a lot of people who think... o There are a lot of people who think...
     

    gringuitoloco

    Senior Member
    American (awesome) English
    Agreed. Don't be misled by the apparent singular collective noun "a lot," which is treated like "many" when followed by a plural noun. There are a lot of people = there are many people.

    Hmmm...this got me thinking. Why would you use there are a lot of people? Shouldn't the verb agree with "a lot?"

    You wouldn't say "There are a group of people." Rather, "There is a group of people."

    What changes about "a lot" that we need to make the verb plural?....hmmm....
     

    Chris K

    Senior Member
    English / US
    Hmmm...this got me thinking. Why would you use there are a lot of people? Shouldn't the verb agree with "a lot?"

    You wouldn't say "There are a group of people." Rather, "There is a group of people."

    What changes about "a lot" that we need to make the verb plural?....hmmm....
    In some circumstances you might say "there are a group of people," though that's really another story, to distinguish between:

    "There are a group of people interested in the job (that is, there are several separate individuals, acting separately)."
    "There is a group that deals with that sort of issue (that is, several people who work together)."

    Of course you might argue in the former the individuals don't actually constitute "a group" at all.

    "A lot of" is a special case, because it only rarely functions as a collective noun (mostly in auctions, as in "a lot of rare editions is being auctioned tomorrow"). Instead, it's treated as if it were a quantifier (there are two books, there are a lot of books). Some people say "there are lots of books" -- but also "there's lots of cheese," even though "cheese" in this case is not countable. In any case, "a lot / lots" is ignored when determining whether to apply a plural or singular verb to what follows it.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    What's grammatically correct? there is a lot of people or there are a lot of people?
    Although I agree with my colleagues, I want to point out that "There is a lot of people" is VERY common among native speakers. I believe the reason for this is that in the form of a contraction, the correct form is difficult for us to pronounce.

    There're a lot of people. (correct, but hard to say)
    There's a lot of people. (incorrect, but easy to say, and therefore far more common than the correct form)

    This is true even with clearly plural nouns.

    There's hundreds of ants on the counter.

    So, if you are writing or being careful of your grammar, use "are" in this phrase, but know that you will see and hear "is" many times.
     

    Darte Sidious

    New Member
    Español
    Hi!

    Do you say a lot of people is eating here or a lot of people are eating here? I'm hesitating between the two options.

    Thanks a lot in advance!
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Do you say a lot of people is eating here or a lot of people are eating here?
    Yes, your question has been answered above, but to reiterate:

    a lot of = many
    people: always a plural noun

    Note that both of the following are correct:
    A large group of people is eating here.
    A large group of people are eating here.

    The first one focuses on the group as a unit, and the second on the individual people.
     

    ayuda?

    Senior Member
    Re: I've been wondering if I have to say There is a lot of people or There are a lot of people in the classroom.

    I agree with the others; “people” here is a collective noun—the verb will be plural—the reference is to each of the separate individuals.
    In British English, the use of the plural like this in general is much more common.
    For example, “The team are coming onto the field now.” (kind of sticks right there in my ear drum).:confused:

    It is a little complicated because, in AmE, you will most always hear “The team is coming onto the field now”—however, you hear the plural steadily creeping into the language in a lot of similar cases all the time.

    The site below and others on the Internet go into things a bit more in detail (Google>group nouns plural or singular).
    Collective Nouns: Singular or Plural? | LEGIBLE

    ▶︎ Also, when people are talking, you will find that they slip into saying “there is” when it should be “there are.” Much easier is Spanish, German and other foreign languages...hay eliminates that problem altogether when pointing out things.
     
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