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Language Log 2013-03-16

T.L. writes:

One of my wife's pet peeves is the use of "there's" instead of "there are," as in the last line here. What's up with this? It's very common. Is it simply easier to articulate?

"Plural there's" was discussed a few years ago on LL:

"Leading questions and frickin' cooks", 8/31/2005 "When 'there's' isn't 'there is'", 9/1/2005

In those posts, I present some evidence to support Arnold Zwicky's suggestion that

…"there's" + <plural noun phrase> should really be characterized, in current English, as merely informal/colloquial, rather than nonstandard. Millions of people (like me) who wouldn't use "there is two people at the door" are entirely happy with "there's two people at the door".

The same thing seems to be true of "here's" — thus today's Google News returns these counts:

here is a few 6 here's a few 256 here are a few 684 here're a few 1

As for why this is true, I don't have a good answer.