Was and Were

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Was and Were :

In phrases beginning with “there” many people overlook the need to choose a plural or singular form of the verb “to be” depending on what follows.

”There were several good-looking guys at the party” [plural].

“There was one of them who asked for my phone number” [singular].

People often forget that “there’s” is a contraction of “there is” and mistakenly say “there’s three burrs caught in your hair” when they mean “there’re” (“there are”). Use “there’s” only when referring to one item. “There’s” can also be a contraction of “there has,” as in “There’s been some mistake in this bill, clerk!”

Remember if you don’t contract “there is” that it also can only be used with something singular following. It’s not “There is many mistakes in this paper” but “there are many mistakes in this paper.”

Common Errors Index

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