Can someone kindly explain me the usage of there -
Tom's family (is, are) considering whether there (are,is) any affordable places to go on vacation in Europe.
Tom's family (is, are) considering whether there (are, is) any affordable places to go on vacation in Europe.
The correct version of this sentence is:
Tom's family is
considering whether there are
any affordable places to go on vacation in Europe.
As you can identify, there are two subject-verb (SV) pairs in the sentence. The first SV pair is Tom’s family. Clearly, it is a singular subject and hence, it must take singular verb. So the verb for this subject is “is”.
Now let’s talk about the second SV. So what do you think is the second SV pair? If you think that the second SV pair is “there is”, then I’m afraid that is not correct.
The second SV pair is “any affordable places - are”. Always remember that in such constructions, “there” acts just as a “placeholder”. They never act as subjects. The subject of the sentence is the noun that appears after the verb that follows “there”. In this case that noun is “any affordable places”, a plural subject. This is the reason why that verb that follows “there” is a plural verb “are” because it needs to agree in number with the plural subject.
Let’s take this example:
There is a very nice flower boutique
at the end of this street.
Here the verb “is” is singular because the noun that follows this verb is a singular noun “boutique”.
If we turn this subject to plural “boutiques” then the verb will become plural “are”. So “there” just acts a placeholder in such sentences and does not bear any effect on the number of the verb.
We need to decide the number of the verb after identifying the number of the noun that follows the verb that follows “there”.
Hope this helps.