Grammar is a funny thing.
Even though most of us profess that we don’t think about it all that often, and we consider anyone who’ll correct your grammar as a pedant and a grammar nazi, we still subconsciously judge others whenever they make grammatical mistakes.
We feel that they are either careless or less intelligent than us.
Don’t believe me?
Then, take a look at the following facts.
In a study done in the Netherlands, it was found that people assessed potential partners based on their grammar.
In fact, one of the important traits most people look for is a command of the written language.
And, job applicants are also under the same pressure to have good grammar.
Ask any employer, and they’ll tell you that they are much more likely to toss out a CV with a grammatical error than they are to pick up the phone and call the candidate in question.
Even companies and businesses are not exempt from having to follow grammatical rules.
A company that makes a grammatical faux pas in any of its copy is considered unprofessional and is derided by the public.
For instance, a couple of days ago, I was passing through a supermarket when I saw a promotion saying “Here is a few offers you can’t miss.”
It irked me, and I couldn’t help but ask myself who was their copywriter.
However, when I got back home and did a little searching on the net, I realized that a lot of people seem to get mixed up when it comes to using “here is” or “here are.” So, let’s try to dispel the confusion.
Is it “here is” or “here are”?
There is no single correct answer, and it all depends on the noun that follows.
If the succeeding noun is singular, then you should use “here is.” For example, “here is the spoon” and “here is an offer” are both correct.
Alternatively, if the succeeding noun is plural, then you should use “here are.” For example, “here are the children” and “here are a few offers you can’t miss” are also correct.
A deeper look at “here is …” and “here are …”
Before going any further, let’s breakdown these expressions and see the different parts of speech that constitute them.
“Here” plays the role of a locative adverb, i.e. an adverb which denotes location.
“is/ are” are conjugations of the verb “to be.”
The noun that follows “is/ are” is the subject of the entire sentence. So, when you say “here are the flowers,” the plural noun “the flowers” is the subject of that sentence.
This is also why you should use the plural form of the verb “are.” You want to maintain subject-verb agreement.
Here are a few more examples.
Here is a bag.
Here are the plates for the dinner.
Here is the main attraction.
Here are the files you asked for.
A simple way to know whether to use “is” or “are”
Some of you may be wondering why the sentence structure above is so jumbled. After all, shouldn’t the subject come before the verb, not after?
Well, for those of you who said that, you are not wrong. The above sentence order is out of whack.
The correct order should bring the subject before the verb.
“Here is the plate” should be “the plate is here.” Also, “here are the documents” should be “the documents are here.”
So, anytime you find yourself wondering whether you should use “is” or “are,” you can just rearrange the order of the sentence to figure out the answer.
Let’s say you aren’t sure whether “Here is the offers” is correct or not.
Rewrite it as ”The offers is here,” and it won’t take you long to realize that there is something off. It just sounds wrong. And, since the right structure should be ”the offers are here,” then you should write ”here are the offers.”
Don’t be thrown off by “here’s”
“Here’s” is nothing more than a combination of “here” and “is.” It is an abbreviation that turns two syllables into one.
Interestingly, English doesn’t contain an abbreviation for “here are.” After all, “here” ends with an “r” sound, and “here’re” would be a mouthful to say.
“Here is vs. Here are”: Unique and confusing cases
Although we’ve seen a simple way to figure out whether to use “is” or “are,” there are still a few cases that can be confusing.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Some nouns are uncountable, which means that they don’t have a plural form. For example, how do you pluralize words like “water,” “milk,” and “mud.” Granted, you can say “bottles of water,” “glasses of milk,” and “heaps of mud,” but these are all alterations. “Bottles,” “glasses,” and “heaps” are countable.
So, when using an uncountable noun do you use the plural or singular verb? In other words, do you say “here is your milk” or “here are your milk”?
The answer is that you use the singular. You don’t say “here are your milk.” That’s wrong.
The correct answer is “here is your milk.” Similarly, “here is some water” and “here is the mud” are the correct answers.
Groups of singular nouns
When talking about several singular nouns together, you should use the plural form of the verb. For instance, look at the following two examples, and you should quickly realize which one is correct.
Here is the book and the stapler.
Here are the book and the stapler.
The first one is incorrect, whereas the second one is the correct one. Even though “the book” and “the stapler” are both singular nouns, when combined together with the use of “and,” they act as a plural. So, you use “are” instead of “is.”
Words that can either act as singular or plural
Some words may act as singular or plural depending on the context.
Take for instance the word “couple.” On the one hand, when you say “couple of teenagers,” you are probably referring to two or more teenagers, which is why you would be using the plural form in this sentence.
On the other hand, when talking about a “romantic couple,” you are probably referring to a specific pair, but you are talking about them as a single entity or unit.
Here are a couple of books I think you should read.
Here is the couple who was walking on the bridge.
Another word that behaves similarly is “family.”
Here is vs. Here are: Using the word “rest”
Should you say “here is the rest of your things” or “here are the rest of your things”?
If you’re trying to think it out, you might want to take into consideration that “rest” here is an uncountable noun.
However, the answer actually is “here are the rest of your things” not “here is the rest of your things.”
You see, “rest” belongs to a class of words that give up their right to determine the state of the verb and leave that right to the following noun. So, when “rest” is followed by a singular noun, you should use “is.” Alternatively, when “rest” is followed by a plural noun, you should use “are.”
Here is the rest of the milk.
Here are the rest of the kids.
The sibling of “here”
We started this article by learning that “here” is a locative adverb. Well, there is another locative adverb that behaves in exactly the same way. I’m talking about the word “there.”
“There” behaves in exactly the same way as “here,” and everything we said about “here” applies equally to “there.”
There is a bag.
There are the plates for the dinner.
There is the main attraction.
There are the files you asked for.
And, when in doubt, you can always adjust the structure of your sentences.
A bag is there.
The files you asked for are there.
Not to belabor the point, I won’t go over any more examples. I’ll just let you know that all the things we said about the unique and confusing cases apply equally to “there.”
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.