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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

There is vs There are

I'm seeing something that's either an odd/disturbing trend or is a lack of good editing. It has become a pet peeve. I'm seeing it crop up in newspaper articles and in children's literature. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
There's things going on here that aren't quite right.

Did you catch that?

There's things.

"There's" is a contraction of there is. Hence the above sentence reads, "There is things going on here that aren't quite right." That's bad English.

I'm seeing the contraction "there's" being used with a plural more and more frequently. It grates on my ear. It irritates me.

It ought to read, "There are things going on here that aren't quite right." Technically there's no contraction of there are. At best it's considered a colloquialism and is attributed to Bob Dylan: "I say there’re no depressed words just depressed minds.” I think it's a perfectly good contraction.

There're things going on here that aren't quite right.

Certainly it's better than "there's."

Have you noticed it? Got a pet-peeve you'd like to share?

(Happy Valentine's Day!)


  1. Yes! Makes my brain crawl with pre-empted curse words!

    Another pet peeve of mine is when I see the word 'smile' five times in the space of half a page. Ugh! Find another way to decribe their happiniess. PLEASE.

  2. You saw my post about irregardless. That just about did me in.

    I truly think it's lazy editing, and the see-who-can-text-the-fastest-so-I-don't-care-if-I-spell-it-right-generation that's taking over the world these days.

    At least with what I write, there ARE no contractions so I better be using the good english, eh?

  3. Oh I've seen that a lot lately too, Bish. It makes me want to SCREAM AND BEAT SOMETHING.

    My pet peeve? Misspelled words. Even if a person doesn't know how to spell, they SHOULD LOOK IT UP! Puuulleease. And signs on the road that misspell on purpose. Just to get you to look. GAH!

    And I'll go the opposite of Jessica. Stories I crit that say the MC cried and cried and cried. Show it, please.

    Happy Valentines Day. Eat tons of chocolate. :)

  4. My kids say "there's" all the time. Maybe that's why it's showing up in books? My pet peeve is when a question is followed by "he said" -- shouldn't it be "he asked"?

  5. Yup, I've seen it. I think "there're" is fine, too. But even I SAY "there's" when it's technically not correct. I'm sure it's only a matter of time till grammar such as "A person should cut down on their junk food" becomes standard, and "there's" when the noun is plural may not be far behind. We say it, it gets in print, in time we hardly notice it anymore, and then it becomes accepted.

  6. It's always easier to see other people's errors than to see our own.

  7. I think I've gotten used to hearing it, but it jumps out at me in print. And yes, it bugs me too.

  8. Yep. This is NOT something I like to read. Unfortunately, as I learned while teaching English, it's frequent. The reason is that we're not teaching children the difference between spoken English and written English. We can say, "There's money over there," and nobody needs to take out the red pen because it's only a phonetic slip. However, we need lots of red pen when that shows up in writing. Writing is not speaking (Do I state the obvious? Yes.) But kids are missing that critical point.

    My pet peeve: He has went.

  9. I have so many pet peeves. Better not to get me started - I might not stop ;)

  10. I was reading a self-pubbed book recently and the poor author didn't know the difference between to and too. Yup, that one pet peeve of mine ;)

  11. I had a piece of writing professionaly edited before, and the editor told me not to use the tag "he hissed" unless whatever he hissed had an "s" sound in it. And yes, in the dictionary, that is the correct meaning of hissed, but I see it used incorrectly all the time.

  12. It makes me cringe when I see that stuff.

    My pet peeve? Me and him.

    Just awful.

  13. Hmmmm... no pet peeves here. I am sure I make these mistakes in my work. But I'd like to think they'd all be edited out before publishing.

  14. I hate hate HATE 'anyways' and 'alot'!

  15. I am with you on this, Bish. Mistakes happen, but they are nails on a chalkboard when I find them in my own writing or in published works. Sometimes I wonder where the grammar police are when they are most needed.

  16. I think, like Kim, I better not start, because I have a TON of grammar pet peeves. *twitch*

    I'm fine with colorful and/or trendy slang, 'cause, yeah, it's fun. But, like the old adage goes, you better know the rules before you break 'em. And, my friend, there's (!) clearly a lot (NOT 'alot' *shudder*) of people abusing the English language without knowing it...definitely. (NOT, for the love of punctuation, 'definAtely' *twitch*)

    I'll shut up now. ;)


  17. Oh oh! What Talli said! I HATE 'anywayS'. And it's rampant.

  18. Bish, this is something I probably have done, maybe not in my writing but in casual correspondence. Yikes! I'll be on the lookout for it!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


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