Can I say “There was many people” or “There was not many people”? I usually make this commom mistake!

Can I say “There was many people” or “There was not many people”? I usually make this commom mistake!

Question by Diego de Leganés

Thank you Diego for your question, indeed it is a common mistake! Technically you can’t. The reason is that people is plural in English. We say ‘people are’ and ‘people were’.

So you have to say:

There were many people. OR There were not many people.

As for the use of ‘there is versus ‘it is’, remember:


It is important to remember the difference between ‘it is’ and ‘there is’.

What is that on the roof? It is a Frisbee. – Es un Frisbee.

Is there a Frisbee in your trunk? No, there isn’t one in my trunk. – No, no hay uno en me maletero.

 

Remember that hay in Spanish has two forms in English:
There is a carton of milk and there is some butter in the fridge.

There is – singular and uncountable nouns.

There are three people in the waiting room.

There are – plural nouns.

 

To ask the question, we invert ‘there’ and ‘to be’:

There aren’t any Post-its in my office.

Are there any Post-its in the cupboard?

 

In the past, we use ‘there was’ and ‘there were’:

There was a parade in the city center yesterday.

There were a lot of people on the main street.

 

I hope this helps you. If you want to review the use of There was/were more, please refer to our lesson: Curso Inglés gratis – There was/there were, there will be

as well as the following videos:
English Grammar: past «there was/were = hubo, había»

English Grammar: future «there will be = habrá»

14/01/2015