"there's" + <plural noun>

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Sep 26 23:21:01 UTC 2009

At 3:53 PM -0700 9/26/09, Grant Barrett wrote:
>>Here's an old 'thread':
>Thanks. Good stuff. I can't make out who the author of this line is:
>"T. Daniel Seely and I worked on this problem years ago." It seems
>only to be quoted; the original message is not in the archive.
>Grant Barrett
>grantbarrett at gmail.com
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

I don't recall who Seely's co-investigator was either.  One point
that always struck me about this construction is that (for my
intuitions/dialect) the contracted singular is fine but the plural
obligatorily resurfaces in the tag:

There's a lot of mistakes in that draft, {aren't there/*isn't there}.
There's two men from Cleveland in the next room {aren't there/*isn't there}.

(I know, there's always "ain't there", but I ain't goin there.)


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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