There IS/ARE?

newcomer   Sunday, January 25, 2004, 17:07 GMT
I have a question concerning "There IS/ There ARE" structures. Which sentence is correct:
1. There IS a hospital, a restaurant and two big shops in that street.
2. There ARE a hospital, a restaurant and two big shops in that street.

and similarly:
3. My hobby IS swimming and dancing.
4. My hobbIES ARE swimming and dancing.
Paul   Sunday, January 25, 2004, 17:25 GMT
1. and 4. are correct.
D.A.M. Y
Elaine   Sunday, January 25, 2004, 18:41 GMT
addendum to Paul's response:

if you change "in" to "on" (i.e. "...and two big shops ON that street"), then 1. and 4. would be correct.
Lou   Monday, January 26, 2004, 11:25 GMT
According to 'Advanced Grammar in Use' by Martin Hewings, "If the noun phrase consists of two or more nouns in a list, we use a singular verb if the first noun is singular or uncountable, and a plural verb if the first noun is plural." (Unit 115 There is, there was etc. page 230).
newcomer   Monday, January 26, 2004, 12:26 GMT
Thank you for your replies.
d   Monday, January 26, 2004, 13:03 GMT
there is an (and not a) hospital
Elaine   Monday, January 26, 2004, 21:55 GMT
"there is an (and not a) hospital"

I don't know about BrE, but in AmE we rarely (if ever) use the "an" article in front of words beginning with an "h" unless it is silent.

a hospital
a house
a hole in the wall
an honor
an hour
an honest person
april   Monday, January 26, 2004, 21:58 GMT
you use an when the next word starts with a vowel. such as "an elephant"
mjd   Monday, January 26, 2004, 23:43 GMT
The only time you'll see "an" before a word beginning with "h" in AmE is with "historical." Sometimes one will hear "an historical.....", but not always.

I wouldn't put "an" before "hospital."
Jim   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 00:35 GMT
You wouldn't say/write "an hospital". D has go the rule mixed up. You only use "an" if the vowel after the [h] is unstressed (i.e. [..]). So "historical" ==>> [h..'storik.l] thus "an historical" but "history" ==>> ['hist..ri(:)] thus "a history" and "hospital" ==>> ['hosp..t.l] thus "a hospital".
Jim   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 00:41 GMT
D has got the rule mixed up.
d   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 15:37 GMT
this is what i learned at school but i observed the english (don't really with americans) do not use it. In fact it comes from french un hôpital wich is (or was) in english an hospital.
Adam   Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 14:43 GMT
If it is "something" AND "something", then you say "ARE", because there is more than one thing. It's plural. So you say "A cat and a dog ARE".

If you say something" OR "something", then you say "IS", because it is singular. You say "A cat or a dog IS".

You would say "There ARE two cats, a dog and a man."

BUT you also say "There IS a cat, a dog and a man." This sentence has more than one subject in it, but you say IS because you say IS for each subject individually, rather than all the subjects combined. If you know what I mean. It is a short way of saying "There is a cat, there is a dog, and there is a man."
Adam   Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 14:47 GMT
In French it is much simpler, because they say "Il y a" which means both "There is" and "There are."

They say "Il y a une maison." Which means "There is a house." Or "There is one house."

"Il y a deux maisons" means "There ARE two houses". In French it is easier.
raisingfink   Friday, January 30, 2004, 05:23 GMT
Hi. I notice AmE uses "a" even with "hour", which actually starts with a vowel sound although it's spelt with an "h". BritE as far as I know don't pair "a" with any wordthat starts with vowel sounds or "an" with a consonant sound even if it's a weak consonant sound. I like this rule because it makes life so much simpler. It eliminates all the "is it a weak "h" sound or strong "h" sound" kind of question. Thus, we've got "a house", "a hysterical...", "an hour", "an FM radio". F here having the vowel sound in "elephant". Yes, "an elephant". Hope I was of some help.