There is an apple on a desk. Your friend who can't see it asks, "are there any apples on the desk?"

What is the short answer to this question?

"Yes, there is" or "Yes, there are."

Or vise versa, I mean there are some apples on the desk and your friend asks, "is there an apple on the desk?"

We should answer in short form based on the structure of the question and then explain it in the long answer? Or we can simply answer based on what we know?

2 Answers 2


is there ....? has the short answer yes, there is or no, there isn't.
are there ...? has the short answer yes, there are or no, there aren't.

Based on what you can see (knowledge of the speaker) that you actually see an apple, and if you friends asks are there any apples of the desk? To corroborate the info, you can give an answer such as yes, actually, there is.

  • So it's wrong to answer Question 1 like this: "Yes there are. There is an apple on the table." Am I right?
    – Yuri
    Feb 25, 2016 at 17:47
  • Answering yes, there are it's actually answering yes, there are some apples on the table.
    – Schwale
    Feb 25, 2016 at 17:49

The short answer is

Yes, there is one

if there are multiple apples, then

Yes, there are

The singular (is) or plural (are) will say the number of apples

  • Then the short answer depends on the number of apples that there are on the desk not just the question structure. I got it right?
    – Yuri
    Feb 25, 2016 at 11:05
  • Yes, you got it! Usually it's good in answer to be as specific as possible and which would be helpful to the questioner. If you were to say "Yes, there are apples" it would not be wrong and would mirror the question, but it would lead the questioner to think there was more than 1 apple. He might be disappointed that there might only be 2 apples, but the answer would be correct. You could answer "Yes, there are 2 apples." (or however many) and that would be most helpful to the questioner.
    – Peter
    Feb 25, 2016 at 11:56

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