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Which of the following two sentences is correct?

1. How many meters in a kilometer?

2. How many meters are there in a kilometer?
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The answer is: both are correct

To say "how many meters in a kilometer" means the same as "how many meters are there in a kilometer".

The question itself remains and is correct in both phrasings.

The essential difference is simply this:

More words are included in the sentence to get to the same answer.

Which phrase is best to use?

Saying "how many meters are there in a kilometer" is the best way to ask this question.

By using more words and articulating the question, the answer can be more easily provided.

Using the phrase in a sentence

Example 1: John, how many meters are there in a kilometer?

Example 2: Mom, how many meters in a kilometer?

Example 3: Excuse me, sir, how many meters are there in a kilometer?

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Comments  
both structures are used.
1 is not an internal structure that is attributed to a grammatical sentence.
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I dont really understand what you mean by internal structure Emotion: sad . Anyway, it's good to know that both are acceptable.

By the way, is the following answer to question (2) correct?

There are 1000 meters in a kilometer?

Or should it be:

There is 1000 meters in a kilometer

using the logic of "1000 meters is very long for a table", which treats meters as a single unit.
Your first sentence has no verb. Therefore, the sentence is not grammatical.
It should be "There are 1000 metres in one kilometer". It means 1000 times one meter
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1000 meters is very long for a table
1000 metres in this sentence is considered a distance, and not 1000 times one meter. This is why the singular.
Got it! Emotion: smile thanks!!!
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# 2 is correct but I can't agree with Inch on # 1. I don't understand what you mean by "both structures are used". To me, wrong English is being used everyday? # 1 is incorrect in grammatical piont of view.

How many meters in a kilometer [may be a diffiulct question for some Americans]. - Yes, in this structure, it's correct; not the way it was posted. By itself, it is not a queston, nor it's a statement.
How many meters are in a kilometer?
my question was how many meters in a kilometer
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How many meteres are in a kilometer?

There are 1000 meteres in a kilometer.
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