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Who can explain to me why we sometimes hear "there's a lot of people" instead of "there are a lot of people", especially on films and some tv programmes? Can we accept it as correct informal language?
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Yet, how can you say that "There are a lot of people" is correct? The noun phrase (a lot - singular) and the verb (are - plural) are at odds with each other. One does not use a singular article ("a") if it is meant to be plural, correct? The fact that "people" is plural is entirely immaterial as it is the object of the preposition (of) and not the object of the verb (are).

There's a lot of people. - verb and object agree
There are lots of people. - verb and object agree
There's lots of people. - verb and object do not agree (yet still often heard in certain dialects)
There are a lot of people. - verb and object do not agree (yet some claim it to be correct regardless)

It just goes to show how truly defunct the english language is. That's why I love it.Emotion: smile
The noun in 'a lot of' no longer refers to a parcel of land or an auction item; that noun is limited to specific cases-- 'two lots of hex nuts are in the warehouse, along with a lot of toggle bolts'--of which your case is not one.

No, no-- 'a lot of' here is a colloquial phrasal quantifier (as is 'lots of') meaning 'many' or 'much', and functioning the same way grammatically. Indeed, plural 'people' is irrelevant, because we could not have 'a lot of person' (we could have 'a lot of sugar', however-- and 'lots of people' and 'lots of sugar').

All four of your sentences are correct, but not for the reasons you give. It is simply that existential 'there' is strong enough as a subject to control the concord of the verb on occasion.

The language seems rather lively to me, quite the contrary of defunct. Why don't you register, Guest? If you have a lot of opinions, we would like to hear the lot.
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Hello Teachers,

Shall we conclude both "is a lot of people" and "are a lot of people" are grammatically correct and give same meaning?
There is a lot of people. sounds right?

there is a lot of apples. sounds right?

how about:

there are a lot of people?

there are a lot of apples?

there is a lot of lots in alaska.
there are a lot of lots in alaska.

now try other regular and irregular plural forms of some nouns on this:

there are a lot of ______.
there is a lot of _______.

there is a lot of cats.
there is a lot of fish.
there is a lot of reindeer.

there are a lot of cats
there are a lot of fish
there are a lot of reindeer.

people is just an irregular noun that doesn't pluralize using S. "a lot of" rightly is also many. it's a modifier, not the subject in the sentence.
throw in as much modifier in the sentence, if the subject is plural, use the plural form for the verb.

wait a minute. is "a lot of" even formal english? if it isn't i wouldn't dwell so much in this puzzle anymore.

has anyone tried to just use "lots of"? i bet no one will ask whether it's is/are e.g. there is/are lots of ....

cheers.
In this case we are not talking about a Lot in an auction. if we were, we would say, "There is a Lot for auction", or "There are lots of Lots that are up for auction".
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There is a lot of people. sounds right?

Not really. There's a lot of people. OR There are a lot of people.

there is a lot of apples. sounds right?

Not really. There's a lot of apples. OR There are a lot of apples.

how about:

there are a lot of people?

there are a lot of apples?

I think the correct way of saying it is "There's a lot of people" because you're refering to "A lot" which is singular, not "people" which is plural. But i'm not sure.
I've enjoyed reading this thread, and I think every possibility has been expressed with logical reasoning. I'm going to lock it.
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