English is one of the common official languages in various countries of the world. It is usually witnessed that several people who are new to English make mistakes in using different words like is, are, there, their, etc. They are often confused about are vs is and when to use is vs are. So, if you are one of them, or you just cannot recall what is the difference between is and are, you should read the article. Today you will learn about are vs is and along with it, we will explain when to use is or are in a question.
1. What is Verb?
A word that determines the action done by the subject in a sentence is known as a verb. In other sense, words that tell you what is being done and how it is being done are termed verbs. Since they determine actions, they are also known as action words. Their form changes as per the tense of the sentences. For example, rotate, eat, sleep, etc.
- Earth rotates around the sun
- He is eating pizza
- She is sleeping on the floor
2. What are Linking Verbs?
A verb that connects a subject with an adjective or noun that identifies or describes the subject is known as a linking verb. It is also known as an intransitive verb that helps in connecting a subject with the word or words in the predicate. For example, My favorite flavors are chocolate and butterscotch. In this sentence, are is the linking verb. (See What are the Words that are both Nouns and Verbs?)
3. How many Linking Verbs are there?
There are in total 23 linking verbs in English Grammar. Here is the list of all the 23 linking verbs.
4. Which Linking Verbs are Most Common?
You are close to finding out about the difference in are vs is. There are 17 linking verbs that are popularly used. Here is the list.
- Can be
- Could be
- Had been
- Has been
- Have been
- May be
- Might be
- Must be
- Shall be
- Should be
- Will be
- Would be
5. How to Differentiate? Are Vs Is
Getting confused between certain words is common and nothing to panic about. Everyone gets confused during their learning years, but there are ways to overcome them. You must first understand the difference between the two words to understand their usage. For singular terms, you should use is, and for plural, you need to use are. For referring to the third person in the singular tense of to be then you should use is. (See What is the Past Tense of Set?)
Otherwise, you can use are, if you are referring to the-
- First-person plural in present
- Second-person singular and plural in present
- Third person in plural present tense of to be.
6. When to use Is Vs Are?
There are different situations where you can perfectly use is and are verbs. To understand the correct usage and when to use is vs are, take a look at the mentioned points.
A) For Singular Things
You can use is in the sentence if the noun used in the sentence is singular for example,
- The kid is going to school
- Their mother is baking a cake for their birthday
- She is wearing a red dress
- This is my house
- He is not going to play with you
B) For Plural Things
When the noun in the sentence is plural, you have to use are.
- Children are happy about the trip
- They are planning a birthday party
- Their dresses are ruined
- There are no rooms available due to the holiday season
- There are no flights for the next 5 hours
C) For Singular with Indefinite Pronouns
A pronoun that is not referring to any person, place, or anything, in particular, is known as an indefinite pronoun. Something, everyone, anything, etc. are all indefinite pronouns. These pronouns are referring to a singular entity, therefore you will be using is with them. Take a look at the examples below:
- Everyone in the class is playing the match
- Anything in this mall is not expensive
- Something is wrong with their security camera
- Anyone is not willing to volunteer for the charity
- Everybody is planning for appearing in the competition
D) For Plural with Indefinite Pronouns
Some plural indefinite pronouns are some, many, few, all, etc. For an unknown number of nouns, you should use are in the sentence. Take a look at the following examples for a better understanding of are vs is:
- Some animals are not good to be pets
- All the houses in the block are covered under the reconstruction plan
- Only a few of us are going to attend their wedding reception
- Except for a few countries, most of them are members of the United Nations
E) For Singular Either and Neither
Either and neither are used both as pronouns and adjectives, based on their usage. To know about are vs is in sentences, when either and neither is placed in front of the singular noun it takes the form of an adjective, take a look:
- Either bike is a good option
- Either subway is better than going from the city streets
- Neither of the series is worth watching
- Neither of my siblings is going to help me with the project
F) For Plural Either/Or and Neither/Nor
- Either Lily or Mandy is driving them to the stadium
- Either the squirrel or rat is spoiling the cookies
- Neither mom nor dad is going to attend the meeting
- Neither Monday nor Wednesday is my day off
7. How to use Is and Are with Different Types of Nouns?
By now it must be quite clear about the use of is vs are. But still, there are situations where their usage can trick you, like while dealing with collective nouns and uncountable nouns.
A) Using Is and Are in Collective Nouns
Nouns that help in describing a group of people or things are known as collective nouns. However, it is not always linked with the fact that there are entities that are in a group or plural sense yet considered singular. Let me explain this with the following examples.
- A couple is shopping for their upcoming wedding.
- The committee is busy with the meeting.
Here, while understanding are vs is, you can see that in the term couple there are two people and in committee, there can be more than 2 people, yet it is a singular term, therefore, here you will use is. (See What is the Past Tense of Beat?)
B) Using Is and Are with Uncountable Nouns
Nouns that tell you about things that are in bulk but cannot be counted are termed uncountable nouns. For example, you cannot say two sugars, 5 salts, etc. The rule for writing such uncountable nouns is to write (is) after them. Let me tell you examples.
- Too much sugar is not good for your health
- Salt is a taste changer and enhancer
8. When to Use Is or Are in a Question?
Here are a few examples of when you can make sentences using is or are.
- Are you his friend?
- Are they coming tonight?
- Is this bag yours?
- Is it your dress or not?
- Is she nice?
- Are your friends at school?
- Is she your teacher from your elementary school?
- Are you from Italy?
- Is this place good for dinner?
- Are you coming to the party tonight?
9. How to add Is and Are in Place of Verbs?
There are situations when you can add a linking verb by replacing the verb. In are vs is, here are a few examples to do so.
- Jenny feels irritated- Jenny is irritated.
- The sky appears pink – The sky is pink.
- Sandy seems stressed about the competition result – Sandy is stressed about the competition result.
So, today you learned about are vs is. Now, you know when to use is or are in a question and when to use is vs are in a normal sentence. (See Which is Correct? Families or Family’s)