There is/are two litres of milk in the jug.

Which form is preferable?

  • 2
    You will hear both: "There's two liters of milk remaining". "There are two liters of milk remaining." But with the singular, at least in AmE, you usually hear a contracted form, "there's" not "there is".
    – TimR
    Oct 12, 2017 at 10:04
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo: Is it regional? I mean which one would be used more in certain areas?
    – dan
    Oct 12, 2017 at 13:10
  • 2
    @dan: There could be a regional correlation, but I don't think it''s a very strong one. I personally might say "There's two quarts of milk remaining" but "There are exactly two quarts of milk left in this gallon bottle." That is, the choice could well depend on whether I was thinking in terms of generally "how much" versus "how many". I think it's a matter of idiolect as much as it is one of sociolect or regional dialect.
    – TimR
    Oct 12, 2017 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


I think when you refer to the quantity of milk or any thing alike you have to be so precise as follows:

  1. When saying there are two liters of milk left, here you are referring to the measuring unit which is the liter, so when you measure the milk left you will find two units ''two liters''
  2. When you talk about the quantity as a whole you will say there is two liters left but you keep in mind that you are talking of the quantity as a whole.

a - In the city of Chicago there are many crimes every year.
b - In the city of Chicago there is much crime.

Here crime can be countable and can be uncountable according to the use in the sentences.

Let us take the most common habit between people as an example 'the coffee'.
How many coffees have you had to day? I have had three coffees.
How much coffee have you had to day ? I have had too much coffee today so I am going to stay awake very late tonight. Here I am talking about the quantity as a whole.


There are two liters of milk in the jug.

Because you are referring specifically to the two liters of milk, and there are two of them, even though they are 'in the jug,' one would use the plural 'are.'

If you were talking about milk in general, you might say, "There is milk in the two-liter jug." But since you are counting the liters, it calls for the plural form 'are.'

See Education First's explanation here.

Judging by the article, most of the confusion would be around seeking the plural of 'milk' itself (spoiler alert: there isn't one.)

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