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[url="http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/ems/emt.html"]
http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/ems/emt.html[/url]

Are these correct? If not, why? What do they mean?
1. The examiner will advise you when there is 2 minutes left. (Is this grammatically correct? )
2. The examiner will advise you when there are 2 minutes left.

3. There is 400 dollars in my wallet. (You have $400?)
4. There are 400 dollars in my wallet. (You have 400 one dollar coins?)

Thanks.
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Comments  
1 & 2. They are obviously counting the minutes, so 'there are two...'.

3 & 4. Four hundred coins in a wallet is extremely bulky and awkward if not impossible, so let us ignore that option. 'There's 400 dollars in my wallet' (folding money, of course)-- the speaker is probably considering the sum, a single amount.' Nevertheless, I think a native speaker is about as likely to say 'there're'-- I know I am.
1 & 2. They are obviously counting the minutes, so 'there are two...'.


I notice that a lot of websites use 'is...minutes' not 'are...minutes' .

This website for eg.:
[url="http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/ems/emt.html"]
[/url]

1. The examiner will advise you when there is 2 minutes left. (So this is wrong? It is a Canadian government website?)
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Maybe the 2 minutes are considered as one length of time? a kind of unit?
You can take my opinion or that of the Manitoba Health Services, Jack. I am not teaching what 'everyone says', I am teaching what is best for formal writing and test taking.
Hello

Jack's question is interesting. I've four grammar books and what they say is in agreement with Mr Mic and Pieanne. So Jack's sentence would be incorrect as a standard expression of English. But it is also true many people online are taking plural seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years as a singular noun. I was interested in people's choice between the plural and singular and so googled. The results are:
(are)=182/(is)=83
(are)=326/(is)=146
(are)=20/(is)=12
(are)=8360/(is)=13
(are)=86/(is)=0
(are)=41/(is)=21
(are)=437/(is)=7
How come the difference? My guess is the proximity of the time unit's pronunciations. The pairs of 'seconds''/'second', 'minutes'/'minute', and 'months'/'month' would be rather close in speaking. So some native speakers have a feeling that they are speaking a same thing for the singular and plural. On the other hand, the pairs of 'weeks'/'week' and 'years'/'year' are clearly different to ears. But what about 'hours'/'hour'? Somebody would argue that the sample size is too small to judge. So I took other numbers. The results are, 3 hours:are/is=36/37, 5 hours:are/is=37/11. It is a mystery.

paco
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And Paco's answer is interesting. I am not sure the results are not arbitrary-- I mean as to statistical differences between ratios for different units-- just because there are not many of any of the hits, really.

But more interestingly, I don't understand your point about pronunciation, Paco. Are you saying that the similarity between /se k?nd/ and /se k?ndz/ is greater than that between /je:r/ and /je:rz/ ? How so?
Hi Mr Mic

Thank you for the comment. To my ears, se kond and se kondz sound similar though I feel the former a bit softer. It would be because my ears are not well fit to English listening [actually my ears are so bad]. As you suggest, the sample sizes are a bit too small to validate them as linguistic data, but even if I change the number, the results are not so different. So suppose the data represent native speakers' choice between are/is, how do you interpret them? Have you any good idea to explain those data reasonably?

paco
To tell you the truth, Paco, I interpret your results as meaning that website posters don't much care which form of the verb they use-- and why should they?-- the message is clear, all the same. Just as 'I ain't got no peanut butter' is a clear message indicating a lack of Skippy.

What I was asking about the pronunciation was: if 'second' and 'seconds' sound similar, then how does that compare to the difference between 'year' and 'years'? You seem to suggest that the two pairs have different relationships.
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