“There are” and “They are” – What’s the Difference?


What is the difference between “There are” and “They are”?

There are means that something exists. The something must be plural (more than one).

There does NOT mean “place” when used like this.

For example:

There are five dogs in this picture. Five dogs exist.

There aren’t any cats in this picture. No cats exist here.

In contrast, when I write or say “They are,” They replaces a plural noun as the subject.

For example:

The dogs are white. >>>> They are white.

The dogs are puppies. >>>> They are puppies.

Let’s look at another example.


There are many bikes in this photo. The bikes exist.

There aren’t any people in this photo. No people exist here.

The bikes are for people of all ages. >>>> They are for people of all ages.

The bikes are outside. >>>> They are outside.

We can explain in another way. If I say “There are five dogs in the picture,” the word “there” isn’t replacing a noun. In fact, the real noun subject follows the verb “are.”

There are five dogs in the picture.

In contrast, if I say “They are white,” the word “they” is replacing a noun. It replaces the word puppies.

Look again:

There are many sentences on this page. They (the sentences) are examples

There are many buttons on my computer. They (the buttons) are useful.

There are many languages in the world. They (the languages) are different.


See more examples and learn more about THEY ARE and THERE ARE in Part 2!