How many are there?

What exactly does “How many are there” mean?

Is this [color=red]"…are there" from the structure [color=red]“There is/ are…” to mean existence or from [color=red]'Five of them are there" to mean location?


‘How many are there?’ could contain either type of ‘there’. You will have to supply either more context or a transcription of the pronunciation in order for us to differentiate them.

I came to the same conclusion as Mister Micawber. It is down to context in written English. HOWEVER, you can differentiate in spoken English: if you are referring to location, the emphasis will be on ‘there’. If you are referring to existence, you’re more likely to have emphasis on the verb. The above voice clip emphasises ‘there’ then ‘are’ to illustrate the spoken difference.