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There is
There are

Presentation / Objective


Giallopudding. (2014). Chicago. [Photo].Retrieved from: https://pixabay.com/es/chicago-horizonte-de-altura-343941/

We use there is and there are, which are common phrases in English, to specify that something “exists” or “doesn’t exist”, or that something is in a specific location.
There is is used for the singular nouns, in other words, it is used when we refer just to one thing. On the other hand, There are is used for the plural nouns, in other words, it is used when we refer to more than one thing.

Therefore, in this topic you are going to meet Ian.
In the reading section you are going to read about his favorite aquarium.
In the listening section you are going to listen to a conversation between him and his friend Olivia talking about a plaza and the things that are or are not there.
In the writing activity you are going to describe his living room through a picture that he is going to show you. And finally, in the speaking activity he is going to ask you to describe a room in your house (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen).


At the end of this topic you will:
• Be able to use the phrases there is and there are through countable and uncountable nouns to express the existence or not existence of things around you in your daily life.


Read the following information that will help you to understand this topic:


There is is used with singular countable nouns and with non-count nouns (uncountable nouns).
Look at the following examples:

  • There is a book on the desk. (book, countable noun)
  • There is a computer in the bedroom. (computer, countable noun)
  • There is some money in my pocket. (money, uncountable noun)
  • There is some milk in the fridge. (milk, uncountable noun)

There are is used with plural countable nouns.
Look at the following examples:

  • There are twenty chairs in the classroom.
  • There are two trees outside my house.
  • There are some 20-peso bills in my wallet.
  • There are many people outside school.

Expressing unspecific quantity

In these expressions we can use different words or phrases to express the quantity of the things we want to express existence.
Some of those words are:

  • Some
  • Many
  • A lot of
  • Lots of
  • A few
  • Few
  • Much (only used with uncountable nouns)
  • A little (only used with uncountable nouns)
  • Little (only used with uncountable nouns)


  • Russian grammar is more difficult than English grammar.
  • I find maths lessons more enjoyable than science lessons.

And we also can express quantity by saying the specific number of the things we are talking about.

  • There is much noise outside my house. (noise, uncountable noun)
  • There is a little money in your bank account. (money, uncountable noun)
  • There is little water in the glass. (water, uncountable noun)
  • There are some great bookstores downtown.
  • There are many strawberries inside that bag.
  • There are a lot of cups in my mother’s cupboard.
  • There are lots of clothes on my bed.
  • There are a few people in the auditorium.
  • There are few apples for the pie.
  • There are twelve rooms in the building.

The previous examples are expressed in the affirmative form.
Now, let’s check the negatives.

Negative form

When we use the negative forms (there is not, there are not any) we are expressing that something doesn’t exist or that something is not located in a specific place.
Look at the following examples:

  • There isn’t a car in the garage
  • There isn’t a drugstore on Ninth Avenue.
  • There aren’t any pens in your pencil case.
  • There aren’t any students in the lab today.

Interrogative form

When we use the interrogative forms (is there a, are there any) we want to know if something exists or if something is located in a specific place.
Look at the following examples:

  • Is there a museum near here?
  • Is there a lemon tree in your garden?
  • Are there any good restaurants on Madero Street?
  • Are there any oranges in that basket?

When we are asked with the previous structure, we have to answer in the Simple Present form of a question with the verb to be.

    Our answers in the affirmative way are going to be:
  • Yes, there is. (for the singular nouns)
  • Yes, there are. (for the plural nouns)
    And the answers for the negative way are going to be:
  • No, there isn’t (for the singular nouns)
  • No, there aren’t (for the plural nouns)

Check the answers to the previous questions:

Is there a museum near here?
Yes, there is.
No, there isn’t. The nearest museum is ten blocks away from here.

Is there a lemon tree in your garden?
Yes, there is. Those lemons are big.
No, there isn’t. There aren’t any trees in my garden.

Are there any good restaurants on Madero street?
Yes, there are. There are about two or three restaurants where you can eat very delicious food.
No, there aren’t any. But there are some good restaurants on Independencia Street.

Are there any oranges in that basket?
Yes, there are. There are two oranges.
No, there aren’t any. We need some.

Note 1: Short answers are underlined.

Note 2: The word “any” is only used in negative and interrogative form.


Activity 1

Atlantic Aquarium


JordyMeow. (2015). Aquarium.[Photo].Retrieved from:https://pixabay.com/es/acuario-tibur%C3%B3n-okinawa-jap%C3%B3n-725798/

Do you like fish? Have you been to an aquarium? Read the text about Ian, who is describing the best aquarium in his country.

As you read, drag the phrases to their respective places.


Activity 2

In the mall


Jarmoluk. (2015). Mall.[Photo].Retrieved from:https://pixabay.com/es/centro-comercial-tienda-compras-906721/

Malls or plazas are very common in big cities. Do you have a favorite plaza? Ian loves going to plazas, but he has never been to Thames Plaza. His friend Olivia is taking him there to celebrate his birthday.

Listen to the conversation and answer True or False.

To hear audio click here:


Activity 3

Ian’s living room

This is Ian’s living room. He wants you to describe what there is and there are in it. Write a short paragraph (between 4 and 6 lines) about the things that are or are not there.

Use the following prompt to guide you:

In Ian’s living room there is… and there are…

After writing your activity evaluate it with the rubric and chek your spelling and grammar in www.onlinecorrection.com to get your score. You can follow the example

Living room

Bedrck. (2017). Living room. Retrieved from: https://pixabay.com/es/interior-sal%C3%B3n-1961070/


Activity 4

Tell me… what is there in your room?


SilverTongueSteve. (2015). Bedroom. [Photo]. Retrieved from:https://pixabay.com/es/dormitorio-cama-pared-decoraci%C3%B3n-416063/

Ian wants to know what there is in your house or apartment. Choose one room (living room, bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom) and tell him what he can find there.

Use the following prompt to guide you. Remember to check the rubric to consider the aspects that will be evaluated.

In my bedroom there is a bed. On the bed there is a pillow and some stuffed animals. Under the bed there is a stuffed lion, there is a stuffed elephant and there is a stuffed panda. There is a U.S.A. flag on the wall. There is a poster on the wall, too. There is a night table. On the night table there is a clock. There is a dresser, too. On the dresser there is a lamp.


Basic references:

Thornbury, Scott. (2004). Natural Grammar. Oxford.
S. Azar, Betty and A. Hagen, Stacy. (2009). Understanding and Using English Grammar. Pearson Longman.


Coordinación de Universidad Abierta y Educación a Distancia-UNAM. (2011). English Media. Retrieved from: www.cuaed.unam.mx/english_media