there was & there were (all kinds)
Is the sentence
(a) "There was all kinds of food on the table"
Shouldn't it read
(b) "There were all kinds of food on the table" ?
What about the final 's' on kinds ? If we say
(c) "There was/were all kind of food on the table"
is it ok?
I have found the first sentence (a), exactly as it stands, on an ESL book.
I remember on that time (I didn't know yet this forum), I researched on
some grammar books and decided that (b) was the correct way, although
in AmE (a) could be acceptable. By the way, the mentined ESL book was an American one.
Now that I know this wonderful forum, I share the problem and ask your advice on the subject.
P.S.: Please feel free to correct any mistakes of mine on this post.
Although it is possible, especially in BrE, for a singular NP functioning as quantifier to a plural NP to govern the verb in the plural, e.g.
A group of demonstrators have entered the building.
(where most AmE speakers would probably prefer 'has entered...'), the converse is not. Thus we cannot, in any variety of English, have e.g.
*Several groups of demonstrators has entered the building.
or, for that matter,
*Many kinds of food was on the table.
And since the number of the verb in a 'there is/are' construction is always the same as it would be in the canonical form of the sentence,
*There was many kinds of food on the table.
is clearly ungrammatical.
The correct version of your sentence is therefore
There were many kinds of food on the table.