While flicking through a textbook for beginners I came across the following:

How many biscuits are there? - There's a lot!

I wonder how "there is" can be explained to a student who knows that "biscuits" is a countable noun given in the plural in the sentence.

  • Biscuits are something that can be counted, yes. However, it is usually more important to know if there are enough biscuits for everyone, or if there are too few to share. "There are a few biscuits left if you want to get one before they're gone" is more useful than "There are four and a half biscuits in the breakroom". Therefore, "a lot" of biscuits is a normal way to provide a count. As "a lot" is singular, it is grammatical to use "there is" here. – user11628 Aug 21 '17 at 14:45
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    @MikeKozar If we assume that of biscuits was omitted, a lot needs a verb in the plural: There are a lot of biscuits. The duplicate answers the question of why is was used instead. – user3395 Aug 21 '17 at 16:14