There are a lot of ..., etc
- There is a lot of snow at the moment.
- There are a lot of people in the park.
- There are a number of things we still need to do.
- There are a couple of eggs in the fridge.
- There is a handful of rice left.
- There were a handful of people.
- A small majority were in favour
- There was a small majority in favour
When acting as quantifiers, singular nouns can sometimes take plural verbs
But what about 'a succession of'?
- "there is a succession of" - 3,620,000
- "there are a succession of" - 14,100 - 0.4%
- "there was a succession of" - about 1,470,000 results
- "there were a succession of" - 23,800 - 1.61%
- then there are a succession of flats until you pass the islands
London Literary Gazette - 1831
- Again there are a succession of milestones—such as the abolition of the various physical punishments inflicted on an offender's body
The Oxford Handbook of Criminology - 2007 Oxford University Press
- but there are a succession of specialty spots that pad out the thin storyline
The Oxford Companion to the American Musical - 2008 Oxford University Press
- There are a succession of dinners in his honour
Franz Liszt:The Final Years, 1861-1886 (Alan Walker) - 1997 Cornell University Press
- For every chapter of the Wake there are a succession of witnesses, as they are called: drafts, typescripts, proofs and printed versions
The Finnegans Wake Experience (Roland McHugh) - 1981 Quantum (University of California Press)
- there are a succession of excellent viewing stations to investigate as the ridge
Great Mountain Days in the Lake District: 50 Great Routes (Mark Richards) - 2008 Cicerone
- a succession of waves which can only take place when there are a succession of shocks
The Popular Educator - sometime between 1858 and 1878 Cassel, Petter and Galpin, London
- where there are a succession of falls affording great water power, and on which several extensive manufactories of iron are erected
A New Gazetteer of the United States of America (William Darby, Theodore Dwight) - 1833 Edward Hopkins, Hartford
- "there is a succession of" - 33,400,000
- "there are a succession of" - 90,900,000
- "there was a succession of" - 94,700,000
- "there were a succession of" - 267,000
- These time expressions are used when a there are a succession of events in the past
- There are a succession of these weekly lessons which follow on from each other and as I develop more I will add them to TES.
TES Connect - (Times Education Supplement - Carolyn Forbes)
- There are a succession of models in their early twenties who are here for a peel (from £80 to £250) or for Botox
Mail Online - (The Daily Mail newspaper)
- While there are a succession of drugs which offer some control over the disease in many cases, a small number of patients do not respond to ...
BBC News Health
- "There are a succession of inspection reports which have said that this is a prison with which has had major problems"
BBC News Kent - quoting Andrew Neilson from the Howard League
- There are a succession of well-rehearsed historical set pieces each impressive enough on their own but quite breathtaking taken together in a single political career
History Extra - Martin Farr at "The official website of BBC History Magazine"
- ... there are a succession of plant associations which come and go over time
Whisby Nature Park
- if you take a look at his report, there are a succession of statements
- It's not simply enough to say that an expression with a + singular noun must necessarily take a singular verb. We've seen that there are quite a few expressions like this that can and do take a plural verb when acting as quantifiers.
- So we have to look at usage, and see whether speakers or writers of Standard English in fact use expressions like "a succession of" with plural verbs. And the answer seems to be yes, some people, at least, do.
- Lastly, I think we have to decide whether it sounds natural in Standard English. And to me I think it does, although I'm well aware I'm skating on pretty thin ice here.