September 11, 2011



Dear Manager,


I'll be grateful if you help me on the following question. 



A book and a pencil are on the table.


In the sentence, the subject is indefinite, so the meaning is clumsy. The sentence is gramatically correct but not used in English. To get a better way of expression we use 'There be' pattern.


People say, ' There is a book and a pencil on the desk.' But it should be 'There are a book and a pencil on the desk.' Because the comlement 'a book and a pencil' is plural.


Which sentence crammatically correct?


Please help me.


Best regards,


Hasan Volkan

English teacher



asked Sep 11 '11 at 05:37 Hasan Volkan New member

1 answer


Hasan, I recommend " Grammar for English Language Teachers" by Martin Parrott, published by Cambridge University Press, which says on this issue:

" In spoken English many people simplify the grammar and use 'there is' instead of 'there are' with plural headwords, and this is increasingly common in the written language..."


So, there's a book and a pencil on the desk" sounds ok to my ear!

link answered Sep 11 '11 at 05:51 Mark Heyne Expert

I second this. Thanks, Mark! KimberlySep 12 '11 at 10:34

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