Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » There is, there are – there was, there were

There is, there are – Use

We use there is, there are to say that something exists.

  • There is a lot of noise. 

Where something is

We often use there is, there are to say where something is.

  • There is a good restaurant at the end of the street. 
  • There are some keys in that box. 

When something happens

We can also use  there is, there are to say when something happens.

  • There is a concert tonight.
  • There are a lot of storms in summer.

A, some, any

We often use  there is, there are + a, some, any.

Educational grammar chart explaining the use of 'There is' and 'There are' with 'a', 'some', and 'any' for countable singular, countable plural, and uncountable nouns.

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There is + singular / there are + plural

We use there is + singular noun, and there are + plural noun.

  • There is a new teacher in the school. 
  • There are some problems that we need to solve.

We use there is + a list of things if the first noun after there is is singular.

  • In the room, there is a bed, a wardrobe and two chairs. 


There is, there are, there was, there were – Form

Grammar chart detailing the form of 'There is', 'There are', 'There was', and 'There were' in positive, negative, question, and short answer forms.

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Present and past

The past form of there is, there are is there was, there were.

  • There is a car in the street. ⇒  There was a car in the street.
  • There are some cars in the street. ⇒  There were some cars in the street.

Short forms

The short form of there is is there’s, but we don’t use a short form of there are. There’s is not used in short answers.

  • There’s a new secretary in the office.
  • There are two bathrooms in this house.  

There are no short forms for there was/there were.

In negative sentences, we often use the short forms there isn’t/there aren’t and there wasn’t/weren’t.

  • There isn’t any bread left. We need to buy more.
  • There aren’t any cookies in the jar.