was/were

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dumbfounded

Senior Member
persian
We went to meet someone. My brother asked, What did they serve you?
I said, there was/were cake, cookies, chicken roll, pizza , drinks and many other items.
 
  • ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Although both would probably be accepted in everyday spoken EN, I'd say "were" is correct. But since a couple of the items offered are in the plural, you could use "were" and begin the list with one of these items: "There were cookies,..."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In situations like this, many native speakers automatically choose a construction that avoids the discomfort caused by either "There were cake, ...." or "There was <a list of things>".
    For example, "They served/ They had/ We had/ <list in any order>".
     
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