There is tons of garbage?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by alsoup, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. alsoup Senior Member

    Hello everyone

    Which one is the correct option?

    I. There is tons of garbage
    II. There are tons of garbage

    Isn't the second one correct? Even though ''garbage" is uncountable, we have '' tons of'' so we need plural, right?

    On the other hand, I've noticed that a lot of native speakers tend to use "There is" for everyhting! Even when it comes to plural -''There is a lot of people..'' - which I have no clue if it is considered grammatically correct.
  2. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    Yes, you need the plural "there are."

    You are also right that, in spoken English, there are increasing instances of people saying "There is" even when it is followed by a plural.
  3. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    Technically, "There is a lot of people" is correct, because "a lot" is singular. But it's much more common to hear "There are a lot of people."
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK

    Hi alsoup

    Today, people often use There's in both singular and plural contexts.

    So I wouldn't be at all surprised at There's tons of garbage, alongside There are tons of garbage.

    I would, however, be very surprised at There is tons of garbage:).
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  5. alsoup Senior Member

    ohh it's all about the contraction then! :p
    Thank you
  6. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    In my understanding, "a lot of" works as a quantifier, like "many" (or "much" with non-count nouns).

    There are a lot of books on the table.
    There is a lot of rice in the bowl.

    "Lots of" also works like a quantifier, not like a noun:

    There is lots of rice in the bowl.
    There are lots of books on the table.

    "A number of" and "The number of" work differently, with "a number of" taking a plural verb, but "The number of" taking a singular verb.

    A number of books are on the table.
    The number of books on the table is quite large.

    I think the use of "There is" with a plural noun is found most often in speaking, and is almost always with the contraction "There's"

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