Is “there goes my chances” or “there go my chances” correct? The first seems to be more natural, but since chances is plural, shouldn’t you use “go” instead of “goes”?


The subject and verb should agree in number. This one is a little tricky as the subject of the sentence is "there", and "there" can be either singular or plural depending on context. You can say, "There is one man in the room" or "There are ten men in the room." Whether you use a singular or plural verb depends on what "there" is referring to.

In this case, as "chances" is plural, the correct verb choice is "go". Here you could also switch both to singular.

There go my chances.

There goes my chance.

Which "sounds more natural" is subjective, I guess. To me, "there goes my chances" sounds horribly wrong. If it doesn't "sound wrong" to you ... well, that's just how it is.

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    "There" is not the subject of the sentence. It is a signal word that the actual subject is delayed. The rest of the post is correct in that the verb "go" should match in number with (the subject) "chances". – Jed Schaaf Aug 9 '16 at 14:46
  • This reference offers three examples showing that it should be plural. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/chance?q=chances – JavaLatte Aug 9 '16 at 16:05
  • @JavaLatte That page has dozens of example sentences. Could you clarify which ones you're referring to? – Jay Aug 10 '16 at 14:00
  • @JedSchaaf Hmm, on rethinking this, maybe "there" is really an adverb in this sentence, that this is an unusual word order for "my chances go there". Like if someone said, "Down fell his hat", the subject is "hat", the verb is "fell", and "down" is an adverb modifying "fell". – Jay Aug 10 '16 at 14:07
  • @Jay, here they are: "What are her chances of survival?", "What are the chances that they'll win?" and "Chances are (that) they'll be late anyway". – JavaLatte Aug 10 '16 at 14:32

When you get into expressions beginning with there such as there goes my chances or there's five books on the table, you get into an area where strict subject-verb agreement is ignored or redefined by many many native speakers.

If you google "There goes my chances" you get many results. You will also find a lot of results for "There go my chances".

I am not going to tell you which one you should say. That is prescriptive grammar. I'm just reporting what people actually say, which is called descriptive grammar. I agree with you that the first one (goes) sounds more natural, as does There's in there's two ways of looking at the issue. See There's vs There are. Note that in this case we are talking about there's, not there is. So even some people who agree with there's two chances I have may not like there goes the two chances I have.

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    The slackness in this case is because the meaning of chances in this context is a probability (singular). Seen that way, as a singular probability, "There goes my chances" starts to make sense. You see the same effect with odds which is another plural word meaning a singular probability. This NGram demonstrates the effect. books.google.com/ngrams/… – JavaLatte Aug 9 '16 at 16:11

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