I know that we say: there/ this is a dog but there are dogs, but recently I heard following sentences:

  1. There is wolves in the forest (Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings)


  1. This is the Stations of the Cross (BBC Modern Masters 2/4 Matisse).

Shouldn’t it rather be: There are wolves in the forest. Is this a kind of stylistic treatment of showing different ways of people talking? This was a sentence said by one of the brothers of the Night’s watch, so many of them weren’t educated. And I know that variety of styles is used in the book.

I probably wouldn’t bother at all with this construction if it hadn’t been for the second sentence which is said by highly educated, well-known BBC presenter.

I don’t think so that in his case it is a kind of stylistic treatment. Is the phrase the Stations of the Cross treated as something singular? Can we also say This are the Stations of the Cross?

So to sum up: Is it correct to say There is wolves in the forest?

Which one is better to say: This is the Station of the Cross or This are the Stations of the Cross? Or both are OK? Or only the first one?

  • #2 seems to take "Stations of the Cross" as a title. Since only one title is mentioned, it agrees numerically with "is". For #1, this might be an attempt to mimic a regionalism. – Lawrence Jun 11 '17 at 12:26
  • 1
    Don't over-think this one. There's eggs in the (fridge / cupboard / whatever) gets almost 200 hits in Google Books. Note this ELU answer, which quotes The Cambridge Guide to English Usage as saying In conversation the combination of there’s with a plural noun is in fact more common than there are, according to the 'Longman Grammar'. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 11 '17 at 16:25

There is wolves in the forest

Game of Thrones may be using a dialectic/stylized speech where

I'm going to get them wolves.

might also be used.

This is the Stations of the Cross.

may be referring to the stations as a single group, since they usually are presented as a group in a specific section of a church (would have to see the broadcast to know the context).

These are the Stations of the Cross.

refers to the 14 or so individual stations.

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