IELTS grammar. Lesson 6: There is / there are / it is / they are

It may seem that phrases there is, there are, it is and they are and related grammar issues are pretty simple. However, this topic is worth going over since there are some hidden obstacles. For instance, do you know which option is correct:

  there is many water
  OR there are many water ?

In fact, the last option is correct. To refresh your memory about these phrases, read the corresponding theory below and complete the exercises.


Hide theory

Word there is used to talk about something that exists. There is is used with a singular subject and there are with a plural subject. (There is one student in the classroom, there are many many plates on the table etc)

There is and there are are used to give new information. It is and they are are used to talk about something that has already been referred to. (There is something for you over there. It is a present for my friend)

To form a question or a negative response we can also use there is or there are. (Are there any snacks left on the table? Yes, there are some. Is there a pen in your bag? No, there is not)

If we want to know the amout of something, we can use how many + plural noun + there are (+complement). (How many cats are there in the park? How many states are there in the USA?)

There is can be also used with uncountable nouns. (There is some milk in the fridge)

Some useful contractions:

There's = There is

There's not = There is not

There isn't = There is not

There aren't = There are not


Practice. Choose the correct sentence in each pair:

  1. There are many children in the yard.
    There is many children in the yard.

  2. There's a great gym nearby.
    There're a great gym nearby.

  3. Is there dogs here?
    Are there dogs here?

  4. There are some bread on the table.
    There is some bread on the table.

  5. There is a present for you. It is a flower.
    There's a present for you. There is a flower.

  6. There are many people here, isn't it?
    There are many people here, aren't there?

  7. Is there something you would like to tell me?
    Are there something you would like to tell me?

  8. Are there any bottles of water left? No, there isn't.
    Are there any bottles of water left? No, there aren't.

  9. How many days are there in the week?
    How many days is there in the week?

  10. There's a book on the table. I've already read it, it's great!.
    There is a book on the table. I've already read it, they're great!

  11. Is there any milk left? Yes, there's plenty.
    Is there any milk left? Yes, there're plenty.

  12. - Despite your horrible behaviour, there's still a chance for you.
    - Is there really? It is great!
    - Despite your horrible behaviour, there is still a chance for you.
    - Are there really? It's great!