Hello my dear friends. A quick and simple post for you. I was surprised how so many people have asked me over the past few weeks to explain why they have heard “There’s loads of people on the metro today.” Why ‘there is’ + plural? The explanation is really simple:
✅ Connected speech
Yep, it’s all because of connected speech. Although “there is” + plural is mega wrong, millions of natives use this spoken structure including myself because it ‘rolls off the tongue.’ Even Michael Swan mentions it (without explanation) in Practical English Usage. In face-paced connected speech, it’s easier for us to say “there’s loads of people on the metro…” rather than to articulate “there’re loads of people on the metro….”
If I slow down my speech for some particular reason or I want to emphasize something, I would then naturally articulate “there ARE loads of people on…” If some students tried to use there’s + plural in slower more articulated speech, they would sound really odd.
?? Should you teach your students to use there’s + plural?
No. Maybe from intermediate level and above, you can explain this phenomenon to your students so their brains don’t melt or they accuse you of teaching wrong grammar or something. I wouldn’t even expect CPE students to use this. It only works in fast-paced connected speech.
Written by Paul Newson