is or are ?

Shana   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:40 pm GMT
should i say "there are not a lot of people" or "there is not a lot of people" ?
hastamalena   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:53 pm GMT
I belive its "there are not a lot of people"
Estel   Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:16 pm GMT
There are not a lot of people would be correct, I believe. However, "there is" seems to roll off people's tongues more often. It just means that not everyone speaks correctly all the time.
Johnny   Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:07 pm GMT
<<However, "there is" seems to roll off people's tongues more often.>>
Nope, I don't think "there is" is used instead of "there are". It's "there's" that is used for the plural too.
There's a lot of people = There are a lot of people
Humble   Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:53 am GMT
There are not many people.
"a lot" is mostly used in the affirmative.
furrykef   Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:01 pm GMT
This issue is a bit muddled, because "lot" is a singular noun, so one would expect singular agreement. But "a lot of" has become a fixed adjectival phrase that people don't really think about much anymore, so it's hard for native speakers to notice unless you point it out to them.

I have no idea what grammar and style guides say on this issue, but I suspect that neither one is generally considered incorrect. Of course, in cases where it's important to get it right, it's a simple matter to use "many" instead, which would require plural agreement. I think I prefer singular agreement, but it wouldn't surprise me if other people recommend plural agreement.

(Note that, to muddle the issue even further, in colloquial speech, people will often say "there's" even when plural agreement is normally required. The main reason is that it's just slightly easier to say than "there are" or "there're".)

- Kef
Tom Jim Jack   Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:56 am GMT
According to grammar text books, both are correct with "a lot of"