There’s Is No Substitute for There Are

There is no substitute for There Are (image of cranky woman)Blogger Sharon Greenthal’s observations on marriage are featured on today’s Huffington Post, one of my most-read websites. Her headline — What I Know After 25 Years Of Marriage — caught my eye. I was drawn to the title because I so respect and admire people whose marriages last that long and beyond.

Following her wise observation that “… while we may have moments, hours, even entire days when we’re giddy with happiness, for most of us, being happy all the time just isn’t possible,” she notes in an italicized line that stands alone:

There’s too many other things we have to do.

It stopped me cold. It made me cranky. There it is again, I thought. There’s is the contraction error this ruthless editor claims is the most-repeated grammatical faux pas: using there’s, the contraction for there is, when the writer or speaker should use there are.

It seems so simple, but it is so widespread. Does anyone really save enough time or space to justify that minuscule shortcut? Why do people who otherwise appear to be highly capable of expressing themselves make such an obvious error? There are — not there’s — way too many people who commit this simple and obvious mistake.

Just to be sure the shortcut has not been sanctioned by some higher grammatical power, I checked six online sources. Nowhere did I find there’s an acceptable contraction for there are. (Note: There’s also can be used to express there has.)

Unfortunately, Sharon Greenthal isn’t alone. I issue this challenge:

Come on, bloggers, reporters, commentators, television personalities and other supposed professional communicators. Stop it! Let’s be good role models and show that we know there’s is NOT the contraction for there are.

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Kathy Watson

Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)