What’s the Difference: “There Are” & “They are” Part 2

My beginning students confuse “There are” and “They are.”

First, the pronunciation is hard.




To say “There,” your mouth ends up in the position you would use to say the word “girl.”  Your mouth is small and your lips are tight and turned down.


Say “cheese!”

To say “they,” smile big.  Show all of your teeth.  (Or, as Americans say when taking a picture, “Say cheese.”

Second, we use them differently.

We use “there are” to say that more than one thing exists.  We are talking about a new subject for the first time.

home-2 There are many flowers in this picture.  There are many people.  There are many buildings.


In contrast, we use “they are” when we know the plural subject that this pronoun replaces.

14124270_10154493839914553_6252142421458480229_o For example: I love tomatoes.  They are delicious.

PDX Events - Beer Festival  I see six glasses.  They are full of beer.

Now, let’s look at both together.

  • Two Businessmen There are two guys in this picture.  (I am talking about a new topic.)
  • They are businessmen. (The two guys.)


  • kittens-555822_960_720 There are five kittens in this picture.  (New topic.)
  • They are so cute.  (The five kittens.)

I hope this helps!


If you want to see MORE examples of “there are” and “they are,” be sure to read Part 2!