Do we say “There is a lot…” or “There are a lot of…”? This question was put to me recently by a student who noted that “lot” is the first noun after a verb. In theory, the verb should be singular with “a lot of”, because it is a singular “lot”. Comparing “There are a lot of apples.” and “There is a lot of apples.”, this sounds incorrect, however. Why? Continue reading
In more complex sentences, such as those using lists, plural nouns that are grouped together or plural subjects that are followed by a singular noun, you should be especially careful that the noun agrees with the subject, and not just the nearest noun. For example, read the following two sentences:
- The flock of geese was flying home.
- The waves in the sea were very high.
In both these cases, the noun directly in front of the verb does not agree with it (geese/was and sea/were) – but they are not the subject. Be careful not to make the mistake of simply forming the verb to agree with the nearest noun. Continue reading
In English, we often refer to periods of time as nouns. This means we name the period of time, and it may be used as a subject or object. Centuries, years, months, weeks, hours, and times of day can all be specific nouns.
- I do yoga on the second morning each week.
- My birthday is in the third month of the year.
- The 19th century was a time of great expansion.
In these cases, we use the and a particular adjective (often an ordinal number – one in a series) to define the particular period of time. Continue reading