"there's" + <plural noun>

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 27 03:26:33 UTC 2009

At 10:29 PM -0400 9/26/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>At 9/26/2009 07:21 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>grantbarrett at gmail.com
>>  ...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}.
>Am I missing something, or isn't it "there's <plural>" simply because
>"there're <plural>" is unpronounceable (and few want to waste a
>syllable on "there are")?
I think that's part of the reason for the acceptance of "there's",
but I'm not sure it's the only factor.  The fact that locative
"there" ("There's our rides") and "here" ("Here's our rides") seem
somewhat less likely (I think in those cases I would say "There're"
and "Here're", regardless of the "unpronounceability" factor) to me
suggests that it's not just phonology.  Is "there're" really any
harder than say "horror" or "terror" or "carer"?  I think I tend to
pronounce all of these as bisyllables with a sort of elongated [rrr].


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list