Teaching the expressions: there is, there are, it is

We have already studied the verb HAVE. Today we will deal with the expressions THERE IS and THERE ARE. These expressions may be confusing for Hebrew Speakers.

There is – There are

I have a book. (יש לי)

Dana also has a book. (יש לה)


There is a book on the table. (יש)

There are books on the table. (יש)

        And in the Past,

I had a headache last night. (היה לי)


There was a wonderful party last night. (הייתה)

There were many guests at the party. (היו)

        and in the Future,

I hope we will have a lot of fun at the party.


 I hope there will not be a lot of traffic on our way home.


When possession refers to a certain person, we use HAVE: 'יש לי, יש לך, יש לו, וכו.

Wheמ possession is general, we use THERE IS: יש.

Some students may be confused about the differences between THERE IS and IT IS.

There is a lot of noise here. (יש)

It is a beautiful day. (זה)

There was a lot of noise at the party. (היה)

It was a difficult exam. (זה היה)

In this case, I would recommend translating and comparing in order to avoid confusion:

There is, there are: יש 

It is: זה  No Plural.

There was, there were: היה, היו

It was: זה היה –  No Plural.

Final Remark:

Let's remind our students that its and it's do not mean the same.

It's (it is) a lovely dress.

What a wonderful dog. Look at its tail.

And that's all for today. My next post will deal with the Present Perfect.

For more detais, please see:

דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית, p 48-50

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