What's the difference in sense?

The way I see it, if somebody asks: "How many students

Whereas if somebody asks "How many students

Is it right? I'd like to hear from native speakers.

Thanks a lot.

The way I see it, if somebody asks: "How many students

**are**in the classrom?" it's because the total number of students is known by the speaker, and he/ she wants to know how many of those students are in the classroom.Whereas if somebody asks "How many students

**are there**in the classrom?" is because the students are not known by the speaker.Is it right? I'd like to hear from native speakers.

Thanks a lot.

Comments

of thestudents are in the classroom?"Mr WordyBut then, how could we explain the difference between both sentences if there's any at all?

tarirotariMr WordyIt does seem that the version without "there" is drawing a contrast.

How many students are in the classroom compared to students in the hallway.

How many students are in the classroom compared to the number of teachers in the classroom.

How many students are in the classroom compared to the number of boxed lunches we have to give out.

BarbaraPAcontrast."khoffBarbaraPAtarirotari