I queried the use of the phrase:

"This is the other thing people coming from that sector tend not to understand: in this sector there is no such thing as promotions or bonuses."

It looked completely wrong to me and I suggested instead 'there are no promotions or bonuses' or 'there are no such things as promotions or bonuses' or 'there are no promotions, there are no bonuses' or 'there is no promotion available or bonus to win'.

Two or three native speakers said "the phrasing is correct because 'is' refers to the 'thing' that’s not understood, not to the two elements that compose it"

I am simply not sure whether that makes any sense or not - I understand the point being made but still am not convinced it's correct, and now I'm questioning myself. My native English is Australian, theirs is American. Is this a dragged/drug thing?

2 Answers 2


The constructions:

  • There is no such thing as (plural)
  • There's no such thing as (plural)

are technically grammatically incorrect. However, it's very common to use both constructions in spoken English (as I'm sure you know). Grammatically correct statements would be:

  • ...in this sector there is no such thing as a promotion or a bonus
  • ...in this sector there are no such things as promotions or bonuses
  • ...in this sector there are no promotions or bonuses

IMO #1 and #3 sound the most natural.


The other native speakers are correct, and their explanation is basically correct.

First, let's break down the clause a bit. The predicate is "in this sector there is", and the subject is "no such thing as promotions or bonuses". The subject contains the nominal phrase "no such thing", which is modified by the prepositional phrase "as promotions or bonuses". (Some people might analyze this clause a bit differently, but this explanation should suffice.)

There is no inherent reason for the object of the preposition to be either singular or plural. We often use an OOTP with a different number from the phrase's referent, e.g.: "In trinitarian Christianity, God often manifests as three distinct beings." "I think of January as 31 cold days." This is perfectly grammatical.

However, as you noticed, it may sound a bit jarring to say that one thing is "as" multiple other items. In this case, any of your proposed solutions would take care of that issue.

(BTW, I am a native AmE speaker, but as far as I know there is no regional / dialectal issue to consider here.)

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