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1: BE Verb in the Simple Present

  • Page ID
    126113
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    Learning Goals

    At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

    Recognize and use the BE verb

    • in the affirmative and negative
    • with contractions
    • with yes/no questions and short answers
    • with information questions

    and use parts of speech to construct simple sentences

    Prepare

    Activity 1.1: Prereading

    Directions: Ask your partner the following questions. Write down the answers so you can report back to the class

    1. What's your name?
    2. How old are you?
    3. Where are you from?
    4. What language(s) do you speak?
    5. What do you miss about your country?
    6. Where do you live now (city, town, or rural area)?
    7. Do you live in an apartment, house, mobile home, or something else?
    8. Please describe where you live. What do you see when you look out the window? Is there a yard, trees, plants, a sidewalk, a street, buildings, or something else?

    Now introduce your partner to your group or the whole class. Use the information you learned about your partner. Use the BE verb and other verbs.

    Directions: Read this story out loud with a partner. One person reads a paragraph, then the other person reads the next paragraph. When you are finished, read the story again. This time, read the paragraphs that you did not read.

    Ana & Pedro

    I am Ana. I am from Guatemala. I am 20 years old. My brother, Pedro is here too. Pedro is 19 years old. We both study English at CCC. We are Spanish-speakers. Pedro and I have black hair and black eyes. We are not tall, and we are not thin. We are average in height and weight.

    We live with our aunt and uncle. We live in an apartment near a park. Our apartment is on the ground floor. There is a patio outside our back door. Next to the patio is the park. There are paths for walking and a playground for kids. It is really nice. We are outside on sunny days. However, there are not many trees! On hot days, there is not much shade.

    We like Oregon, but we are homesick for Guatemala. We are not really “sick”. We just miss our country and its culture. Our mom is in Guatemala. She is a great “pupusa” cook. Pupusas are a thick corn tortilla filled with beans and meat. We are homesick for her and her cooking. We are also tired of the cold! We prefer a warmer climate. However, we like the green trees and blue skies of Oregon. The people are so nice, too! Oregonians are friendly and helpful people.

    Activity 1.2: Comprehension

    Directions: Ask and answer the following questions with your partner. Do you or your partner have anything in common with Ana and Pedro? Be prepared to discuss what you learn about Ana and Pedro with the class.

    1. Who are Ana and Pedro?
    2. Where are they from?
    3. Where do they live now?
    4. Who do Ana and Pedro live with?
    5. Describe Ana and Pedro’s living situation. What is near their apartment?
    6. What do they miss in their country?
    7. What do they like about Oregon?
    8. What don’t they like about Oregon?

    Explore

    Activity 1.3: Noticing

    Part 1 Directions: Go back to the story about Ana and Pedro. Find all the BE verbs. There are three forms in the present tense: am, is, andare.

    Every sentence in English must have a subject AND a verb. A subject is:

    • the person, place, or thing doing the action of the verb, or
    • the person, place, or thing being described by the verb.

    The subject and verb always “go with,” “match,” or “agree with” each other.

    Part 2 Directions: Write the form of the BE verb that comes after each subject.

    1. What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) I?
    2. What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) he/she/it?
    3. What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) you/we/they?
    Activity 1.4: Try It Out!

    Directions: Now that you have read the story about Ana and Pedro, write the correct form of the BE verb on the lines. You will write about yourself in numbers *5 and *8.

    1. My name ________ Ana.
    2. Ana ________ a student.
    3. Pedro ________ from Guatemala.
    4. Ana ________ 20 years old.
    5. I ________ ________ years old. *
    6. It ________ a sunny day.
    7. Ana and Pedro ________ Spanish-speakers.
    8. I ________ a ________ -speaker. *
    9. They ________ in their apartment.
    10. We ________ in our classroom.

    *Talk about yourself here.

    Discover

    The BE verb describes, characterizes, defines, and shows time, place, or location. The words after the BE verb give more information about the words before the BE verb (except in “there” sentences).

    Uses of the BE Verb

    Look at the table for the uses of the BE verb. As you read across, you will find out when to use the BE verb, which parts of speech are important, and example sentences.

    BE Verb Uses Words After BE Verb Example Sentences
    to describe people and things (including age) Adjective: a describing word

    good, bad, new, old, young, little, big, tired, married

    I am happy.
    Ana is 20 years old.
    She is young.
    The dogs are playful.
    You are smart.
    to characterize or define the subject Noun: person, place, thing, or idea I am a student.
    Pedro is a man.
    Ana and Pedro are Guatemalans.
    to show time, dates, or place Preposition + noun = Prepositional Phrase Our school is in Oregon City.
    Christmas is on December 25th.
    Our class is at 9:00 am.
    to show location Location words: here, there, near, far, inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs Ana’s apartment is near a park.
    Pedro is upstairs studying.
    to show place of origin Use the preposition “from” Ana and Pedro are from Guatemala.
    I am from Portland.
    Where are you from?
    in “there” sentences The subject comes after the BE verb.
    is → singular subjects
    are → plural subjects.
    There is a dog in the park.
    There are trees near our apartment.
    Activity 1.5: Writing

    Directions: The table above explains the ways the BE verb is used. Your instructor will give you a worksheet. Write some sentences of your own.

    Now that you have written some sentences with the BE verb, think about what the BE verb does in the sentence. It links or connects the subject of the sentence to the rest of the sentence. The BE verb helps the writer say more about the subject.

    Note

    A subject is the person, place, or thing doing the action or being described by the verb.

    • Nouns characterize or define the subject.
    • Adjectives describe the subject.
    • Prepositions (place-words) show time or location.
    Examples

    I am a student. → I = student

    She is a young woman. → she = young woman

    They are funny. → they = funny

    She is at school. → she = location/at school

    Class is at 9:00 am. → class = show time/9:00 am


    Forms of the BE Verb

    How do we form a BE verb sentence? In the Explore section above, you matched the subject pronouns to the BE forms: am, is, and are. Subject pronouns are: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they.

    Affirmative Statements with the BE Verb

    Subject BE Verb Noun, Adjective, or
    Prepositional Phrase
    I am a student.
    He
    She
    It
    is inside the house.
    at work.
    a cat.
    You
    We
    They
    are beautiful.
    in class.
    smart.
    Activity 1.6: Complete the Table

    Directions: What did you notice about the verbs you wrote in the Try It Out! activity? Which subject agreed with each verb form? Write the BE verb that agrees with each subject. A subject is the person, place, or thing doing the action or being described by the verb.

    Subject BE Verb
    I 1.
    you 2.
    he, she, it 3.
    we 4.
    they 5.

    As you can see, there are three forms of the BE verb.

    • am agrees with the subject I
    • is agrees with the subjects he, she, it
    • are agrees with the subjects you, we, they
    Activity 1.7: Fill-in-the-Blank

    Directions: Complete the sentences with the correct form of the BE verb.

    1. He ________ from China.
    2. I ________ a cashier.
    3. She ________ late for class.
    4. They ________ hungry.
    5. You ________ busy.
    6. It ________ dark now.
    7. We ________ students.
    8. Kit ________ a teacher.
    Activity 1.8: Writing

    Directions: Change the singular to plural or the plural to singular. Use the correct verb form with your new sentence. Use the information above to guide you.

    Examples

    She is a teacher. → They are teachers.

    We are hungry. → He is hungry.

    They are from Venezuela. → She is from Venezuela.

    1. I am from Portland, Oregon.

    We ________

    2. I am from Guatemala.

    You ________

    3. I am 20 years old.

    They ________

    4. Pedro is here, too.

    They ________

    5. Mom is a great cook.

    You ________

    6. Pedro is a student at CCC.

    We ________

    7. We are not tall.

    I ________

    8. Our apartment is beautiful.

    The apartments ________

    9. All of the patios are lovely.

    Our patio ________

    10. The garden path is in the sun.

    The garden paths ________

    Activity 1.9: Listening

    Directions: Listen as your teacher reads a story about Ana and Pedro. Write the correct form of the BE verb (am, is, are) on the lines below. The verb needs to agree with the subject.

    Ana and Pedro live with their aunt and uncle. Their aunt’s name (1)________ Maria Carmen. Everyone calls her Carmen. Their uncle’s name (2)________ Miguel. Carmen (3)________ 40 years old, and Miguel (4)________ 41 years old. Carmen (5)________ a preschool teacher, and Miguel (6)________ a landscaper. They (7)________ married, and they have two children. Both children (8)________ boys. Therefore, Ana and Pedro have two nephews. Their names (9)________ Luis and Diego. Luis (10)________ older than Diego. Both boys (11)________ in high school. Luis (12)________ in 10th grade. Diego (13)________ in the 9th grade. Luis plays soccer, but Diego plays basketball. Both boys (14)________ bilingual. They speak English at school and Spanish at home.


    Affirmative Contractions

    Here are the BE verb forms with their contractions. Contractions shorten and combine two words. This is very common in English.

    Quick pair/share

    What contractions do you know? Tell your partner.

    Notice that SINGULAR pronouns (except the subject I) use is, while PLURAL pronouns use are.

    Full Forms Contractions Example Sentences
    I am → I’m I’m a student.
    He is →
    She is →
    It is →
    He’s
    She’s
    It’s
    He’s inside the house.
    She’s at work.
    It’s a cat.
    You are →
    We are →
    They are →
    You’re
    We’re
    They’re
    You’re beautiful.
    We’re in class.
    They’re smart.
    Activity 1.10: Writing

    Directions: Change the full forms to contractions.

    Example

    I am Ana. → I’m Ana.

    1. It is really nice in the park.
    2. We are average height.
    3. I am from Guatemala.
    4. We are homesick for Guatemala.
    5. He is a student.
    6. She is a great cook.
    7. We are hungry for Mom’s pupusas.
    8. We are tired of the cold!
    9. It is a good playground.
    10. We are outside on sunny days.

    Negative Statements with the BE Verb

    To make sentences negative, we add the negative not after the BE verb. Do not use no. No does not usually appear in the middle of a sentence.

    Subject BE + not Nouns, Adjectives, and Prepositional Phrases
    I am not in class.
    He
    She
    It
    is not hungry.
    You
    We
    They
    are not at school.
    Activity 1.11: Writing

    Directions: Change the affirmative sentences to negative sentences. Add not between the BE verb and the adjective, noun, or prepositional phrase. Use full forms.

    1. Tigers are blue and orange.
    2. Chicago is a country.
    3. The park is downtown.
    4. Dogs are quiet.
    5. Cats are loud.
    6. She is a nurse.
    7. He is tall.
    8. They are from China.

    Negative Contractions with the BE Verb

    There are two ways to make negative contractions with the BE verb.

    1. contract the subject and verb (he is not = he’s not), or
    2. contract the verb and the negative (he is not = he isn’t).
    Activity 1.12: Writing

    Directions: Change the full forms to contractions.

    Example

    Tigers are not blue and orange. → Tigers aren’t blue and orange.

    1. Ana and Pedro are not from France.
    2. Ana and Pedro are not tall.
    3. Our apartment is not on the third floor.
    4. Our mom is not a terrible cook.
    5. We are not thin.
    6. We are not students at Portland Community College.
    7. There is not a patio outside our front door.
    8. Ana is not 40 years old.

    Using Adjectives with the BE Verb

    Activity 1.13: Writing

    Directions: Make sentences by choosing a word from each column in the table. Write 5 affirmative sentences and 5 negative sentences. (You will need to add not). Use contractions. Use your own lined paper for this activity.

    Examples

    The United States is big.
    English is not easy.
    I’m happy

    Subject Be Verb Adjective

    I

    You

    He

    She

    It

    My classmates

    The United States

    Oregon

    My sister

    My brother

    My country

    English

    CCC

    We

    My brother and I

    They

    My friends

    Our classmates

    The students

    My teacher

    is

    am

    are

    happy

    difficult

    single

    rich

    tall

    young

    lonely

    old

    strong

    beautiful

    small

    smart

    easy

    big

    powerful

    intelligent

    healthy

    friendly

    important

    nice

    Yes/No Questions & Short Answers

    Yes/no questions mean that the answer to the question is either yes or no. These questions don’t use wh- question words.

    Remember

    The subject of a sentence is the person, or thing doing the action or being described by the verb. In a statement, the subject comes first, and the verb comes second. When you make a yes/no question, the subject and verb change places (invert). The verb comes first and then the subject.

    A chart showing how the subject and verb are inverted.
    Activity 1.15: Interview

    Part 1 Directions: Choose the subject and the verb of each sentence.

    1. Cats are soft.
    2. She is from Brazil.
    3. The dog is cute.
    4. We are happy.
    5. The computer is broken.
    6. He is a smart guy.
    7. The truck is big.
    8. They are busy.

    Part 2 Directions: Now, on your own lined paper, change the sentences from Part 1 into yes/no questions.

    Part 3 Directions: Sit with a partner. Ask your partner the yes/no questions you just wrote. Your partner can answer any way he or she wants.

    Example

    A: Are cats soft?
    B: Yes, they are. / No, they aren’t.

    Short Answers

    Study the table below for more information about answering a yes/no question. It includes short answers, which are very common in spoken English. We usually use contractions in negative answers (e.g., No, I’m not.), but the full forms in short answers are common, too (e.g., No, I am not.). Notice that there are NO contractions for affirmative short answers!

    BE Verb Subject Noun, Adjective, or Prepositional Phrase AFFIRMATIVE Short Answers NEGATIVE
    Short Answers
    Am I hungry? Yes, I am. No, I’m not.
    Is he
    she
    it
    hungry? Yes, he is.
    Yes, she is.
    Yes, it is.
    No, he’s not.
    No, she’s not.
    No, it’s not.
    Are you
    we
    they
    hungry? Yes, I am.
    Yes, we are.
    Yes, they are.
    No, I’m not.
    No, we’re not.
    No, they’re not.
    Activity 1.16: Find Someone Who...

    Directions: Your teacher will give you a worksheet to use. Walk around the room and ask your classmates questions about the topic in each box. With your partner, ask take turns asking a question. Use short answers to respond.

    • If your partner answers, “Yes, I am,” write their name in the box. Find a new partner.
    • If they answer, “No, I’m not,” ask another question until they say yes. Then find a new partner.
    Example

    A: Are you ________?

    B: Yes, I am. (or) No, I’m not.

    Activity 1.17: Interview

    Part 1 Directions: Change the following statements to yes/no questions.

    Examples

    You are from Peru. → Are you from Peru?

    He is an immigrant. → Is he an immigrant?

    1. The computer is broken.
    2. He is lucky.
    3. The cats are under the table.
    4. Jacques is from Côte d’Ivoire.
    5. Pigs are smart.
    6. The desk is heavy.
    7. I am hungry.
    8. The boys are on the bus.
    9. You are a mechanic.
    10. We are late.

    Part 2 Directions: Now ask your partner the questions. Your partner will answer using short answers. Answer using affirmative and negative short answers.

    Activity 1.18: Interview

    Part 1 Directions: Make statements and questions from the words given. Add a BE verb (am, is, are) to complete the statement. Then, turn the statement into a question.

    Example

    My friend / at school now

    Statement: My friend is at school now.

    Question: Is my friend at school now?

    1. the old woman / from Moldova

    Statement: ________

    Question: ________

    2. the train / at the station

    Statement: ________

    Question: ________

    3. the men / construction workers

    Statement: ________

    Question: ________

    4. the little girl / 4 years old

    Statement: ________

    Question: ________

    5. the dog and cat / in the yard

    Statement: ________

    Question: ________

    Part 2 Directions: Ask your partner the questions from above. Your partner can answer with affirmative or negative short answers.

    Short Answers: An Expanded View

    Short answers are very common in spoken English. However, there is only one way to answer in the affirmative. Contractions are not allowed. With negative short answers, there are different ways to answer depending on the amount of emphasis you want to make.

    Affirmative Short Answers

    Yes/No Questions No Contractions!
    Am I hungry? Yes, I am.
    Is he/she/it hungry? Yes, he is.
    Are you hungry? Yes, I am.
    Yes, we are.

    Negative Short Answers

    Most Common
    Contraction
    Alternative
    Contraction
    Without Contraction
    (Full Form)
    No, I’m not. No, I am not.
    No, he isn’t.
    No, she isn't.
    No, it isn't.
    No, he's not.
    No, she's not.
    No, it's not.
    No, he is not.
    No, she is not.
    No, it is not.
    No, you aren’t.
    No, we aren’t.
    No, they aren’t.
    No, you're not.
    No, we're not.
    No, they're not.
    No, you are not.
    No, we are not.
    No, they are not.

    Less emphasis <——————————————–> More emphasis

    Activity 1.19: Conversation

    Directions: Your instructor will give you a card with a question on it. Walk around the room and ask a classmate the question. Your partner will ask you a question. Use short answers to answer the questions. After you both ask a question, exchange cards and find a new partner.

    Information Questions with the BE Verb

    We use wh- question words at the beginning of information questions.

    Activity 1.20: Brainstorming

    Directions: What are the wh- question words? Make a list with your partner:

    ________

    ________

    ________

    Study the chart below about wh- question words and their meanings.

    Wh- Question Word Asks About: Example Questions
    What things
    names
    What is that?
    What is your name?
    Who people Who is the teacher?
    Who is next to you?
    Where places
    location
    Where is your school?
    Where is the library?
    How manner
    feelings / emotions
    form / shape
    description
    How are you?
    How is your class?
    How far is it to Seattle?
    When time
    dates
    When is your birthday?
    When is the last day of class?
    Why reasons Why are you late?
    Why is he absent?

    The formation of information questions is the same as yes/no questions. Add the wh- question word (who, where, what, why, when, how) to the beginning of the question.

    Wh- Question Word Asks About: Example Questions
    What things
    names
    What is that?
    What is your name?
    Who people Who is the teacher?
    Who is next to you?
    Where places
    location
    Where is your school?
    Where is the library?
    How manner
    feelings / emotions
    form / shape
    description
    How are you?
    How is your class?
    How far is it to Seattle?
    When time
    dates
    When is your birthday?
    When is the last day of class?
    Why reasons Why are you late?
    Why is he absent?
    Remember

    IS is followed by a singular subject.
    ARE is followed by a plural subject.

    Activity 1.21: Interview

    Part 1 Directions: Unscramble the words to form information questions.

    1. the weather / is / how / today?
    2. is / where / your child?
    3. on the table? / is / what
    4. is / the last day of class? / when
    5. our teacher? / is / who
    6. are / you / late / why

    Part 2 Directions: Ask your partner the questions you just unscrambled.

    Activity 1.22: Interview

    Part 1 Directions: Interview your partner. Ask your partner the questions below and write their answers. Later, you will put the answers into a Venn Diagram.

    1. What is your name?

    2. What color are your eyes?

    3. What color is your hair?

    4. How tall are you?

    5. Where are you from?

    6. Are you single, married, divorced, or widowed?

    7. How old are you?

    8. What is your job?

    Part 2 Directions: Your instructor will give you a Venn Diagram to use. A Venn Diagram is used to organize ideas and take notes. With your partner, fill in the chart to find out what you have in common. In common means what you share or do that’s the same.

    Venn Diagram show examples for "You" and "Partner"

    Part 3 Directions: Now write 5 sentences about your partner. Use the BE verb with nouns and adjectives.

    1. ________
    2. ________
    3. ________
    4. ________
    5. ________

    Review

    Activity 1.23: Complete the Table

    Directions: Complete the table with the correct forms of the verb.

    Subject
    Pronoun
    Affirmative Full Form Affirmative Contractions Negative Full Form Negative
    Contractions
    I am I’m I am not I’m not
    You You’re
    He He is not
    She She isn’t
    It is
    We We’re
    They They aren’t

    Snapshot: Sentence Patterns

    The word or words that come before the be verb are called the subject. The subject is the person or thing that does the action of the verb or describes the verb.

    Examples

    Subject + BE + noun I am Ana.

    Subject + BE + adjective I am 20 years old.

    Subject + BE + place word I am from Guatemala.

    Activity 1.24: Writing

    Directions:

    A. Put the words in the correct order to make questions.

    B. Answer yes/no questions with short answers, but answer wh- questions with complete sentences. Answer the questions in the affirmative or negative. It’s your decision.

    Examples

    birds / loud / are Is / where / the bird

    A. Are birds loud? A. Where is the bird?

    B. Yes, they are. OR No, they aren’t. B. It is in the tree.

    1. he / is / a good teacher

    A. ________

    B. ________

    2. doctor / is / your / friendly

    A. ________

    B. ________

    3. the car parked / where / is

    A. ________

    B. ________

    4. the students / are / busy

    A. ________

    B. ________

    5. Luz / a good cook / is

    A. ________

    B. ________

    6. clean / are / clothes / your

    A. ________

    B. ________

    7. brother / tall / is / your

    A. ________

    B. ________

    8. what / favorite sport / is / your

    A. ________

    B. ________

    Activity 1.25: Conversation

    Directions: Your instructor will give you a card. Walk around and ask your classmates the question on the card. When done, exchange cards with your partner, so you have a new card.

    Write

    Directions: Write a paragraph describing your home using the BE verb in the present tense.

    Format:

    • Use your own 8.5″ x 11″ lined paper. Do not use other paper sizes, please.
    • Heading: Put your full name, the due date, and Ch. 1 Writing Assignment at the top of your paper. Your instructor will tell you where the heading goes (left or right side).
    • Indent the first sentence, skip lines (double space), and leave a 1-inch margin on the sides and bottom.

    Writing and Grammar:

    • First sentence: Begin writing by using this topic sentence: I like my home for many reasons.
    • Write 5 affirmative sentences using the BE verb in the simple present tense.
    • Write 5 negative sentences using the BE verb in the simple present tense.
    • Use full forms; do not use contractions.
    • Use capital letters and punctuation correctly.
    • Use the rubric below to check your work.
    • Do not copy the sentences in the model paragraph on the next page. You must write your own original sentences.

    Assignment Rubric:

    Subject BE Verb
    I 1.
    you 2.
    he, she, it 3.
    we 4.
    they 5.

    Model Paragraph:

    My Home

    I like my home for many reasons. My home is quiet. It is not noisy. It is near a lake. The lake is not big. There are many trees in the backyard. Squirrels are in the trees. There is a pond with frogs. The frogs are not big. My home is not on a busy street. My neighborhood is not very big. I love my home and neighborhood.

    Paragraph Format:

    Format_example.png

    Self-Assessment

    These were our goals at the beginning of Chapter 1:

    Recognize and use the BE verb in the simple present tense

    • in the affirmative and negative
    • with contractions
    • with yes/no questions and short answers

    Use parts of speech to construct simple sentences

    Subject BE Verb
    I 1.
    you 2.
    he, she, it 3.
    we 4.
    they 5.

    This page titled 1: BE Verb in the Simple Present is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Susan Caisse, Kristee Emens-Hesslink, & Jennifer Rueda (OpenOregon) .

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