en English

Common mistake – “There have a 7-11”

Very often, I hear HK Chinese IELTS candidates say “There have”.  For example: “There have a supermarket below my place”.

The correct way is There is a supermarket below my place”. In spoken English, this often shortened to “There’s a supermarket below my place”.

I guess the reason for the error is that in Chinese, 有 (“jau5” in Cantonese or “you3” in Mandarin) can either mean:

  1. “I/You/We/etc. have” (i.e. to indicate possession) or
  2. There is/was/etc.” (i.e. to indicate existence)

And, Chinese people may mix the two translations I have and There is to create There have.

In short, never say There have”. This phrase does not exist in English!

Two main types of there

In English, the word ‘there’ has several different types of usage. The two main types are:

1. to specify a location (either as an adverb or noun)

Adverb: I can see a 7-11 over there. I think they sell umbrellas there.

Noun: I was in there yesterday.

2. to indicate existence (called “existential there”)

There is no other place around here where we can buy umbrellas.

Hang on, there might be another 7-11 inside this shopping centre.

If you want to indicate both existence and the location, you can say:

There is a 7-11 (over) there.

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