Sentence Openers Series #2: “There (Is/Are)”

How should we start a sentence? There are numerous ways, but this is NOT the best one.SENTENCE OPENER SERIES

Avoid these sentence openers:

There are…

There is…

There (is/are) better ways to start a sentence.


Reason #1: Pronoun-Verb Agreement (or Disagreement)

Do you remember those pronoun-verb agreement worksheets in school?

Circle the best answer:

  1. There (is/are) nineteen cats in my house.
  2. There (is/are) a burglar in my kitchen.

With nineteen cats in my house and a burglar in my kitchen, I would have greater worries than finding the agreeable linking verb. Agreed?

By eliminating “there (is/are),” you don’t have to worry about the agreement of your linking verb. You can focus on the cats and the burglar. Maybe he’s a cat burglar?

cat-burglar


Reason #2:Linking Verbs vs. Action Verbs (Action Verbs Always Win)

Here’s the thing: In most cases we can eliminate “there are” from our writing. It’s a weak pronoun-verb construction, and by removing it, we could add an action verb to our sentence. The object of the “there are” construction can move into the subject spot, and then you have the opportunity to describe what the subject is doing.

There are nineteen cats.

OR

Nineteen cats circle my living room and consume copious amounts of food.

Circle-of-cats-eating

 

There are various ways to end this blog post.

OR

Various ways to end this blog post would be better than this one.

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