Is follows singular nouns while are comes after plural nouns. Here is an example.

  • Jerome’s reports is not good. → Jerome’s reports are not good.

In the example above, reports is plural (report is the singular version of the word), so the appropriate verb for the sentence would be are.

Here is a rule of thumb you can follow:

A is/are B.

  • If A is singular, then use is.
  • If A is plural, then use are.

In American English, if A is a collective noun (group, band, crowd), then you use is.

  • The group of students is taking a test tomorrow.

In British English, however, you can use either is or are with collective nouns.

  • The group of students is taking a test tomorrow.
  • The group of students are taking a test tomorrow.

Here are some practice questions you can try out:

  1. Derek’s idea is/are creative but risky.
  2. Yvonne’s pencil case is/are yellow.
  3. The bus full of musicians is/are going to arrive at the stadium in an hour.
  4. The students’ essays on global warming is/are very lengthy.
  5. Grant’s presentation is/are going to be before the our manager’s report.
  6. The box of kittens is/are next to the broken street lamp.
  7. The band is/are going to be playing at the holiday party.
  8. The poisonous spiders is/are inhabitants of the woodlands.
  9. The investors and board members is/are not pleased with the amount of revenue this quarter.
  10. The professor said the top student of the class is/are also a valedictorian.

You can check your answers at the bottom this page.

You can also apply the singular vs. plural distinguishing rule for sentences like this:

There is a lot of fluctuations. → There are a lot of fluctuations.

In sentences starting with there, you can use this rule to see if you should use is or are.

There is/are C.

  • If C is singular, then use is.
  • If C is plural, then use are.

Here are some examples you can refer to:

  • There are screwdrivers in the toolbox.
  • There is a lizard on the wall of my backyard.
  • There is a new alarm system in the building.
  • Our boss announced that there is a new branch manager in Stamford.

You can try these practice questions as well:

  1. There is/are a book on the table.
  2. There is/are a lot of dust in the air.
  3. She said that there is/are investors who are willing to work with the company.
  4. There is/are still hundreds of essays the teacher has to grade.
  5. There is/are a new drink in the fridge.
  6. The CEO stated that there is/are problems with the manufacturing company.
  7. Today, there is/are people waiting in line for the donut shop.
  8. Despite everything, there is/are still a chance we can win the competition.
  9. There is/are a lot of songs Dan hasn’t sung yet.
  10. Do you think there is/are someone who will pay for this?

Answers to the practice questions:

  1. is
  2. is
  3. is
  4. are
  5. is
  6. is
  7. is (American English); either is or are for British English
  8. are
  9. are
  10. is
  11. is
  12. is
  13. are
  14. are
  15. is
  16. are
  17. are
  18. is
  19. are
  20. is


Is vs. Are
When deciding whether to use is or are, look at whether the noun is plural or singular. If the noun is singular, use is. If…

Cindy is a language-loving American writer for the Pcanpi's blog. Her love for languages, including her first language English, is what drives her when she writes and translates for a living. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, badminton, The Office, watching meme videos on YouTube, and singing karaoke.