There is or there are family ?

I am confused, because the family consists of several people in it.


1 Answer 1


The link ColleenV provided in the comments is relevant, but it is not the whole story. I see three separate issues.

First, there is the use of singular or plural verbs for collective nouns like family, and as the linked question discusses, both are used, but American English prefers singular, where British English uses either, often with a slight nuance of meaning.

Secondly, there is the article: in the question Colleen linked, the collective noun was India, which is a name, so does not take an article. But family is a common noun. So in that light, it must be either There are family (plural, semantic agreement, less favoured in AmE) or There is a family (singular, syntactic agreement).

But thirdly, in colloquial British English (I think American too but I'm not sure) people often use There's as an invariant presentational, irrespective of number. So in that context There's family (plural with invariant "there's") would be natural, but only in informal contexts.


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