What is the exact meaning of sentences with and without is and are? Please explain the example below.

a) At least we will come to know how many trees "are" exist in the town.

b) At least we will come to know how many trees exist in the town.

Please, help me to understand the verb exist with the examples:

Is the structure of the sentence "We are exist and others are living" correct?

  • 2
    Neither sentence is even approximately grammatical. SUBJ will come to know how many trees exist in the town is probably what you want. Mar 9, 2015 at 3:16
  • Yes StoneyB you are correct. I have missed Subject in question. I have updated question now. Please answer
    – user4084
    Mar 9, 2015 at 3:36
  • Still not corrected correctly! a is incorrect grammatically Mar 9, 2015 at 8:32
  • Suhail plz correct me
    – user4084
    Mar 9, 2015 at 11:30
  • 1
    A combination of two verb forms such as "are+exist" is not possible in English.
    – rogermue
    Mar 9, 2015 at 14:13

4 Answers 4


The verb "to be" and its various forms (am, is, are) can be used, broadly speaking, in two ways:

  • As a primary verb:

    • Today is a beautiful day.
    • My parents are from Germany.
    • Sometimes, I am unhappy.
  • As an auxiliary verb, i.e. a verb that helps other verbs create new meanings:

    • I am watching a movie. ('to be' + 'watch' creates the present continuous tense)
    • The boys are playing outside in the sun. (again, 'to be' + 'play' + '-ing' = present continuous)

Finally, we have the expression "there is" or "there are", as in the following examples:

  • There are three chairs in the living room. (= The living room has three chairs)
  • There is a good reason for everything (= Everything has a good reason)
  • In the past, there were many diseases that we don't have today. (= In the past, many diseases existed that we don't have today).

The last example is related to yours, because we can use "there is", "there are", etc to talk about the existence of something. That gives us two correct ways to express your example sentence:

At least we will come to know how many trees there are in town.


At least we will come to know how many trees exist in town.

Your first example sentence with 'are exist' is incorrect, because it tries to use both of the above ways at the same time. Pick just one, and you have a correct version.

  • Well now that you know that you can use "there is" and its other forms to talk about existence, you can translate it into other verbs based on context. It's important to remember that the context drives which synonyms for "exist" make sense. For example: "there is no solution to this math problem" - you can say "no solution exists for this math problem", or "no solution has been found for this math problem", etc. Use your context creatively ;)
    – RuslanD
    Mar 9, 2015 at 19:54
  • RuslanD. "People are gathered in hall" is correct or not? also what would be past tense for my earliar example. i.e. Tree example.
    – user4084
    Mar 10, 2015 at 9:13
  • The formula is "there" + "to be" in the right tense and number. So in the past it becomes "at least we came to know how many trees there were in town". Your question about the people in the hall seems different from this topic.
    – RuslanD
    Mar 10, 2015 at 9:52
  • RuslanD Please give me some more Verb example as "Exist"
    – user4084
    Mar 10, 2015 at 10:53
  • RuslanD. "We are Exist and others are living" is this sentence formation is corret?
    – user4084
    Mar 12, 2015 at 3:27

I assume OP's initial At least we will come to isn't at issue here, so let's reduce #1 to...

1: We know that how many trees are exist in the town.

Where denotes "unacceptable to native speakers". (I've also removed the syntactically invalid that, capital Trees, and quotes around "are").

The reason #1 is an invalid construction is because are and exist are both finite verb forms performing the same syntactic function (approximately, that of a copula linking trees to in the town). We can make it grammatical by removing either word,...

1a: We know how many trees are in the town.
1b: We know how many trees exist in the town.

...or by replacing exist with an adjectival form, giving the starchy/formal, but perfectly valid...

1c: We know how many trees are extant in the town.

Note that in principle we could replace exist with a continuous participle, but idiomatically we wouldn't normally use are existing (probably because of the semantic overlap between to be and to exist). Though there's nothing unusual about, say,...

1d: We know how many foreigners are living in the town.

I'd guess to be is the most common verb in English (because of its use as an auxiliary), but we don't actually use it very often as a "true" verb in the sense of to exist. It's just that some examples ("To be or not to be" and "I think therefore I am" come to mind) are particularly well-known.

TL;DR: If the intended meaning is to exist, use that verb. You won't go far wrong if you only ever use to be as an auxiliary verb,


We exist, and others are living.

The sentence means that you are not living, you just exist. Basically, it has the meaning that you live worse than others.

exist has the meanings:

  1. have objective reality or being (Oxford Dictionaries Online)

  2. occur or be found, especially in a particular place or situation (Oxford Dictionaries Online)

The verb be/is/are has more grammatical functions (see the question: What is meant by the verb "to be"?) than exist, but it can be the synonyms of exist in a particular context. exist has more narrow meaning than the verb be/is/am. As the definitions given above say: exist is about the existence/being in the objective reality, you can use be/is/are instead to exist but you cannot always use exist instead of be/is/are.

are/is cannot be used with exist because it would be two words with similar meaning and grammatical function (they are verbs) at the same place. You cannot just say: I say say...

Of course, in the spoken language, if the person says two words at the same moment it just the situation of the speaking act when we can use stylistically many words.

More examples from the BNC:

The opportunity exists today.

The file does not exist.

He exists but it is not true.


English is brief.

At least we'll know how many trees existing in the town.

At least we'll know how many trees staying in the town.

At least we'll know how many tress remaing in the town.

We must learn a lot vocabulary.

  • I think those sentences are not at all correct in written English at least due to the want of an auxiliary verb, here are that is. But I feel the infinitive form of those verbs that are marked in bold is better. And stay is very less likely in here, though it might be a good choice in some other context. I'm not very sure about that. Mar 13, 2015 at 7:36

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