There is a mountain very close to my house. It's only five minutes' walk. That's why I have many unusual birds coming to my yard all year around.

If I change the last sentence to "There are many unusual birds coming to my yard," is there any difference in the implication? I think this is a very basic question, but I still wonder which I should use, "I have" or "there are".

  • Well since you have the plural birds it wouldn't be "there is", it would be "there are". As for a difference in implication, the "I have" emphasizes your connection to the birds in your yard, while "there are" is a mere statement of fact that the birds exist in your yard.
    – Walter
    Jun 25, 2013 at 8:20
  • 1
    Unrelated to the question you're asking, "It's only five minutes' walk" is incorrect English. The idiomatic expression would be "It's only a five minute walk."
    – Daniel
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:28
  • @Daniel That is arguably incorrect, by many people still say it. Technically, in either case "five" and "minutes" should be hyphenated.
    – Jay
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:34
  • @Jay Yes, you are right. And I know that it is arguably incorrect. I just wrote it that way because, in my experience, that is the idiomatic way of saying it, whereas the way it is written in the question would never be accepted as correct.
    – Daniel
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:38
  • There is doesn't work. There's does, but it's informal. In formal Standard English, there are is required.
    – user230
    Jun 25, 2013 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


"I have many birds coming to my yard" makes sense because we are talking about my yard. You couldn't say, "I have many birds coming to his yard."

If you change the sentence the way you have suggested, there is a change in meaning. Saying "There are many birds coming..." means that they are on the way right now, perhaps for a big bird party that is happening in an hour. It wouldn't fit with your first sentence which doesn't explain why there would be birds flying to your yard right now in particular.

If you want to change the sentence to not use "I have," you could say "That's why many unusual birds come to my yard all year around."

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