Which is correct grammar, and WHY?
There is a lot of fish in the lake or there are a lot of fish in the lake?
I'm going to disagree with Holly. According to both of my dictionaries -- Merriam-Webster Collegiate and American Heritage -- "lots" as a plural for "a lot" is non-standard usage.
Looking under "lot", a noun, we find the specific usage "a lot". "A lot" is plural and a synonym for many. The plural "lots" is reserved for the primary meanings of "lot" -- an object used as a means of determining a question by chance, a piece of land.
There are a lot of fish in the lake is the correct answer and is not ambiguous.
|link||answered May 14 '12 at 04:22 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow|
It depends on what part of the subject you want to put your emphasis on. In the example you gave, "there are a lot of fish in the lake" is correct, because you're not putting your emphasis on the "lot" -- you're really talking about the fish (plural).
To put it another way:
There are a lot of cars on the freeway.
There is a lot full of cars around the corner.
If you want to avoid ambiguity altogether, you could just say, "There are lots of fish in the lake."
|link comment||answered May 14 '12 at 02:13 Actually Holly Expert|
Hero of the day
Person asked the most questions.