There Is a Number of vs. There Are a Number of

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    In general, the choice between there is vs. there are depends on the noun that follows the phrase. However, when it comes to the phrases there is a number and there are a number, the choice depends on the emphasis that you want to make.

    Use there is a number if you want to emphasize a group as a whole. Use there are a number if you want to emphasize individual members in a group.

    Example 1

    When you test a plan, there are a number of issues that may occur in the VAO UI: [issues are listed explicitly]

    • VAO calculates the completion percentage wrong and displays the execution progress bar incorrectly.
    • Lab group states are shown incorrectly.
    • Plan states are shown incorrectly.

    Example 2

    There is a number of ways to update VMware Tools. For example, you can do it manually or configure VMs to perform automatic updates the next time they reboot. [options are not that important themselves]