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Grammar question

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Lauram6123

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Hello all.

I have been writing all morning and may be too burned out to know the right answer to this.

Which one is correct?

There are a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.

There is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.

Thank you in advance.
 

pharm

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You'll find a lot of contention about this out there, but both are widely used and arguably correct! It all comes down to the ambiguous role of phrases like "variety of" or "number of" as object or modifier in a sentence.

In the singular "There is..." version, "variety" acts as an object and "of restaurants" as a modifier. In the plural "There are" version, "a wide variety of" acts as a modifier for the actual object, "restaurants" (think of it as being equivalent to saying "There are many restaurants.").

To many Americans' ears, the "There are" construction sounds more conversationally natural these days. But you can use whichever you like and will be fine, technically speaking.
 
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InkFinger

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Pharm is right. I would have spoken "there are" restaurants, rather than "there is" a variety. That said, I think the technical answer is that "there is" a "variety of restaurants."
 

pharm

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It's funny, when I think about my own speech I tend to say either "There are are a lot of restaurants to choose from" or just as often "There's a lot of restaurants to choose from," but I would never there say the unabbreviated "There is a lot of restaurants." And that comes down to nothing more technical for me than ear-feel ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Woollybear

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Struggled over something similar today and ended up re-wording it, which some of us resort to.

There are various restaurants
from which to choose.

(fwiw I dislike dangling prepositions ... though according to style manuals they are okay ... and you didn't ask about the 'from'...)
 
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pharm

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The subject is "variety." How many varieties? "A variety," meaning one variety.

The subject is singular, not plural, so your verb is "is." The object is "restaurants," but objects don't determine verbs form.

There are restaurants.
There are [many] restaurants.
There are [a variety of] restaurants.

restaurants | are \ there
\ many

restaurants | are \ there
\ a variety of


(point being "restaurants" can be read just as properly the subject as "variety" could be, no?)

e. Granted, some guides do not consider "There" to be grammatically part of the sentence at all, and instead file it in a weird lone case like an interjection or noun of direct address.

urkemmll.png


But like I said, this stuff is contentious, and grammatical rules and rigid formal constructions are forever playing catchup with natural use of language. And evidently I can't even keep the subject vs. object vs. predicate noun distinction clear in my head.
 
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Helix

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Not that this answers your question, but in situations like this I'd write 'Choose from a variety of restaurants'.
 

SapereAude

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There are restaurants.
There are [many] restaurants.
There are [a variety of] restaurants.

restaurants | are \ there
\ many

restaurants | are \ there
\ a variety of


(point being "restaurants" can be read just as properly the subject as "variety" could be, no?)

e. Granted, some guides do not consider "There" to be grammatically part of the sentence at all, and instead file it in a weird lone case like an interjection or noun of direct address.

urkemmll.png


But like I said, this stuff is contentious, and grammatical rules and rigid formal constructions are forever playing catchup with natural use of language. And evidently I can't even keep the subject vs. object vs. predicate noun distinction clear in my head.

No.

"restaurants" follows "of" -- restaurants is not the subject, and you can't legitimately diagram a sentence to convert an object into a subject.

"There is a variety [of restaurants] ..." is the only grammatically correct way to do it without re-wording the sentence. Whether or not some people would say it this way in everyday, colloquial speech is a separate question.