Difference Between Is and Are in English Grammar: Explained

Difference Between Is and Are in English Grammar: Explained

Understanding the difference between “is” and “are” in English grammar is essential for anyone learning the language. These two words are forms of the verb “to be” and are used to connect the subject of a sentence with a description or statement. However, knowing when to use “is” or “are” can be tricky, as it depends on the subject’s plurality and the tense of the sentence. In this article, we will dive into the grammatical nuances of “is” and “are” and provide clear examples to help you master their usage.

Let’s start by looking at the basic difference between “is” and “are.” The word “is” is used when referring to a single subject or object, while “are” is used when referring to multiple subjects or objects. For example, if you are talking about a single person, you would use “is.” However, if you are talking about several people, you would use “are.”



An easy way to decide whether to use “is” or “are” is to check the subject-verb agreement in your sentence. If the subject is singular, you should use “is.” If the subject is plural, you should use “are.” For example, “He is playing soccer” and “They are playing soccer.”

It’s worth noting that there are some cases where the choice between “is” and “are” is not so straightforward. One example is when using collective nouns, which refer to a group as a single unit. In this case, the verb form depends on whether the collective noun is being treated as a single entity or as individual members. For example, you would say “The team is practicing” if you are referring to the team as a whole. But if you are referring to the individual members of the team, you would say “The team are practicing.”

Another case where “is” and “are” can be ambiguous is when using phrases like “one of” or “some of.” In such cases, the word following “of” determines whether to use “is” or “are.” If the word after “of” is singular, use “is.” If the word is plural, use “are.” For example, “One of the books is missing” and “Some of the books are missing.”

In summary, the main difference between “is” and “are” lies in their usage with singular and plural subjects. “Is” is used with singular subjects and “are” is used with plural subjects. However, there are certain rules and exceptions to consider, such as collective nouns and phrases like “one of” or “some of.” By understanding these nuances and practicing with examples, you will soon become proficient in using “is” and “are” correctly in your English sentences.



Recommended Tutors

1. Determine what you need

Decide whether you need a tutor who specializes in basic grammar or one who can help you with more advanced concepts. This will depend on your current level of knowledge and what specific areas you want to focus on.

2. Check for qualifications

Make sure the tutor you choose has the necessary qualifications and experience to effectively teach English grammar. Look for tutors who have certifications or degrees in English or a related field.

3. Look for recommendations

Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have worked with English tutors before. Their experiences can help you find a tutor who is reliable and effective.

See also Learn How to Professionally Incorporate Quotes into Your Essay


4. Consider online tutors

In today’s digital age, online tutoring has become very popular. Consider working with an online tutor who can provide flexible scheduling, convenience, and often lower rates than in-person tutors.

5. Take advantage of free resources

Many tutors offer free resources such as grammar quizzes, worksheets, or helpful email tips. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your learning and practice.

Working with a tutor can help you understand the difference between “is” and “are” better. They can provide personalized explanations, examples, and exercises to help you grasp the nuances of these two words.

Remember, “is” is used when referring to a singular subject, while “are” is used for plural subjects. For example:

  • “She is a teacher.”
  • “They are students.”

It’s important to note that there are exceptions and special cases in English grammar, so it’s always a good idea to check with your tutor for clarification.

In summary, if you’re struggling with the difference between “is” and “are,” consider working with a recommended tutor who can guide you through the confusing aspects of English grammar and help you improve your language skills.

⚡ Quick Summary

First, let’s start with the basics. “Is” is the singular form of the verb “to be,” while “are” is the plural form. So, if you’re talking about one person or thing, you should use “is.” For example, “She is tall” or “The book is on the table.”

On the other hand, if you’re talking about more than one person or thing, you should use “are.” For example, “They are my friends” or “The books are on the shelf.”

However, things can get a little more complicated. Sometimes, a collective noun (a word that refers to a group of people or things) can be used with either “is” or “are,” depending on whether you’re talking about the group as a single entity or the individuals within the group. For example, “My family is going on vacation” (referring to the family as a single unit) or “My family are all going on vacation” (referring to the individuals within the family).

To summarize, “is” is used when talking about one person or thing, while “are” is used when talking about more than one person or thing. However, there are cases where the choice between “is” and “are” can be more nuanced. If you’re unsure, it’s recommended to consult a grammar guide or ask your English tutor for clarification.

Now that you have a quick summary of the difference between “is” and “are,” you can apply this knowledge to your own sentences. Practice using these words with different subjects and verbs, and see how much more grammatical your sentences become!

By the way, if you’d like a quick quiz to test your knowledge of using “is” vs. “are,” we have a free one here. Check your email for the quiz and see how well you’ve learned the topic!

Is vs Are

Let’s see some examples:

– When the subject is singular, we use “is.” For example, “She is a doctor,” “He is tall,” or “That is the book.” Here, “is” is used to connect the subject to its complement.

– When the subject is plural, we use “are.” For example, “They are students,” “We are friends,” or “Those are apples.” In these sentences, “are” is used to indicate the plural form of the subject.

It’s worth noting that there are some exceptions and additional cases where “is” and “are” are used differently. One such case is the use of “is” with collective nouns. Collective nouns refer to a group of people or objects, such as “team,” “family,” or “committee.” Even though they are technically plural, they are treated as a single unit and therefore take the verb “is” instead of “are.” For example, “The team is playing well” or “The family is going on vacation.”

Another important point is that “is” is used in negative sentences when referring to a single subject. For example, “She is not coming to the party” or “He is not happy with the result.” On the other hand, “are” is used in negative sentences when referring to multiple subjects. For example, “They are not going to the concert” or “We are not satisfied with their performance.”

See also Philosophy Term Paper: How to Write a Comprehensive and Thought-Provoking Paper

Now that you know the difference between “is” and “are”, let’s summarize:

  • “Is” is used with a singular subject and “are” is used with a plural subject.
  • “Is” is used with collective nouns.
  • “Is” is used in negative sentences with a single subject, and “are” is used in negative sentences with multiple subjects.

Grammar can be tricky, but don’t worry! Learning and understanding the difference between “is” and “are” is important, and it will help you build better sentences in English. If you’re unsure about which one to use, you may consult with your tutors or reference guides to get a quick and reliable answer. Remember, practicing and using the correct forms will make your English skills stronger!

Now that you’ve learned about “is” vs “are” in English grammar, why not check your knowledge with a quick quiz? Email us or visit our website to get a free quiz on this topic!

Examples of is and are used in a sentence

1. Singular vs Plural Forms:

  • My cat is sleeping.
  • The cats are playing.

In the first sentence, “is” is used because the subject “cat” is singular. In the second sentence, “are” is used because the subject “cats” is plural.

2. Subject-Verb Agreement:

  • She is a talented dancer.
  • They are attending the concert.

In these examples, “is” is used with the singular subject “she”, and “are” is used with the plural subject “they”.

3. Negative Sentences:

  • I am not feeling well today.
  • We are not going to the party.

When expressing negation, we add “not” after “is” or “are”.

4. Possessive Forms:

  • This is my book.
  • Those are their cars.

“Is” is used to show possession with the singular subject “this”, and “are” is used with the plural subject “those”.

5. Collective Nouns:

  • The team is playing tonight.
  • The staff are discussing important matters.

In the first sentence, “is” is used because “team” is seen as a single unit. In the second sentence, “are” is used because “staff” refers to multiple individuals.

Remember, it is recommended to check the plurality of the subject before deciding whether to use “is” or “are” in a sentence.

Here is a quick summary of the differences between “is” and “are”:

  • “Is” is used with singular subjects, while “are” is used with plural subjects.
  • “Is” is used in the present tense, while “are” is used in the present and future tenses.
  • “Is” is used when the subject is a single unit, while “are” is used when the subject refers to multiple individuals or objects.

By learning and using these examples, you can improve your grammar and avoid common mistakes when using “is” and “are” in English sentences.

There is vs There are

When to Use “There is”

“There is” is used in a sentence when referring to a singular object or when the subject is singular. It is also used when the subject is a non-count noun, like water or air. Here are some examples:

There is a cat in the house.

There is an apple on the table.

There is water in the glass.

It is important to note that “there is” is also used in negative sentences. For example:

There is not enough time to finish the project.

When to Use “There are”

“There are” is used when referring to multiple objects or a plural subject. It is also used when the subject is a plural noun, like cats or books. Here are some examples:

There are two cats in the garden.

There are many books on the shelf.

There are people waiting outside the theater.

Similar to “there is,” “there are” is also used in negative sentences. For example:

There are not enough chairs for everyone.

There are several ways to solve this problem.

A Quick Summary

To summarize, “there is” is used when the subject is singular or a non-count noun, while “there are” is used when the subject is plural. It is important to determine the subject-verb agreement in order to decide between “is” or “are” in a sentence.

How to Determine “Is” or “Are”

To determine whether to use “is” or “are,” you can ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the subject singular? If yes, use “is.” Example: There is a book on the table.

2. Is the subject plural? If yes, use “are.” Example: There are two books on the table.

See also 5 Mindfulness Exercises to Improve Your Mental Well-being

3. Is the subject a non-count noun? If yes, use “is.” Example: There is water in the glass.

Remember, “there is” and “there are” can be used in both positive and negative sentences, so don’t forget to include the negation “not” when necessary.

Examples of “There is” and “There are”

Here are some examples to further illustrate the difference:

– There is a pen on the desk.

– There are three pens on the desk.

– There is no milk in the refrigerator.

– There are many students in the classroom.

Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

Let’s see if you have learned the difference between “there is” and “there are”! Complete the following sentences with the correct form:

1. ______ a dog in the garden. (‘is’ or ‘are’)

2. ______ some books on the shelf. (‘is’ or ‘are’)

3. ______ not enough chairs for the guests. (‘is’ or ‘are’)

Check your answers below:

1. There is a dog in the garden.

2. There are some books on the shelf.

3. There are not enough chairs for the guests.

By following this guide, you will be able to use “is” or “are” correctly in your sentences and avoid any grammatical mistakes!

See how much you have learned with our quiz

Are you confident in your understanding of the subject-verb agreement? Can you decide when to use “is” or “are” in a sentence? Let’s see how much you have learned!

Here are some examples to help you get started:

1. The word “is” is used when referring to a singular subject. For example: “He is a doctor.”

2. The word “are” is used when referring to plural subjects. For example: “They are students.”

3. The word “is” is also used when referring to uncountable nouns or objects. For example: “The car is blue.”

4. The word “are” is used when referring to collectives or groups of people. For example: “The team are practicing.”

Remember that there are some exceptions and ambiguous cases. For example, when using the phrases “a hundred” or “several”, the verb that follows can be either “is” or “are”. It is recommended to check the context and use of the word to determine whether “is” or “are” should be used.

We hope this summary helps clarify the difference between “is” and “are” in English grammar. Now, let’s see how well you understood the topic by taking our quiz!

Click here to take the quiz and test your knowledge!

After completing the quiz, you can email your results to our tutors for a free guide on using “is” and “are” correctly in English sentences.

Good luck and enjoy learning!

When to use is or are

Subject-Verb Agreement

In English grammar, the verb form “is” is used with singular subjects, while “are” is used with plural subjects. Here are some examples:

Singular SubjectVerb Form
Iam
Youare
He/She/Itis
Plural SubjectVerb Form
We/Theyare
Peopleare
Collectives (e.g. family, team)are

Examples

Here are some examples to illustrate the use of “is” and “are” in sentences:

– “I am going to the store.”

– “You are a great singer.”

– “He is reading a book.”

– “They are playing soccer.”

As you can see, the verb form “is” is used with the singular subjects “I” and “he,” while “are” is used with the plural subjects “you” and “they.”

When it gets tricky

Though the guidelines above are recommended, there are some cases where it can be a bit more ambiguous to decide whether to use “is” or “are.” For example:

– “One hundred spaces is available.”

– “Several people are waiting for the bus.”

In these cases, you should consider whether the subject is being treated as a single entity or as separate individuals. In the first example, “one hundred spaces” is treated as a single entity, so “is” is used. In the second example, “several people” refers to multiple individuals, so “are” is used.

Summary

In summary, “is” is used with singular subjects, while “are” is used with plural subjects in English grammar. Remember to consider the number and plurality of the subject when deciding which verb form to use. By following these guidelines and looking out for tricky cases, you can improve your understanding of when to use “is” or “are” in your sentences.

Check your grammar skills with our quick quiz and get some free email lessons from our tutors to learn more about the difference between “is” and “are” in English grammar!

FAQ

What is the difference between “is” and “are” in English grammar?

“Is” is used when referring to a singular subject, while “are” is used when referring to multiple subjects.

When do we use “is” and “are” with “there”?

We use “is” with “there” when the subject is singular, and “are” with “there” when the subject is plural.

How do we decide whether to use “is” or “are”?

We decide whether to use “is” or “are” based on whether the subject is singular or plural.

Can you give some examples of using “is” and “are” in a sentence?

Sure! “She is a teacher.” (singular subject) “They are students.” (plural subject)

What is the difference between “is” and “are” in the English grammar?

The difference between “is” and “are” lies in their usage with singular and plural subjects respectively.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.