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.
Directions: Ask your partner the following questions. Write down the answers so you can report back to the class.
- What’s your name?
- How old are you?
- Where are you from?
- What language(s) do you speak?
- What do you miss about your country?
- Where do you live now (city, town, or rural area)?
- Do you live in an apartment, house, mobile home, or something else?
- 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 the story below 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.
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.
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.
- Who are Ana and Pedro?
- Where are they from?
- Where do they live now?
- Who do Ana and Pedro live with?
- Describe Ana and Pedro’s living situation. What is near their apartment?
- What do they miss in their country?
- What do they like about Oregon?
- What don’t they like about Oregon?
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, and are.
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.
- What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) I?
- What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) he/she/it?
- What form of the BE verb agrees with (comes after) you/we/they?
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.
- My name ___________________ Ana.
- Ana ___________________ a student.
- Pedro ___________________ from Guatemala.
- Ana ___________________ 20 years old.
- I ___________________ ___________________ years old.
- It ___________________ a sunny day.
- Ana and Pedro ___________________ Spanish-speakers.
- I ___________________ a ___________________ -speaker.
- They ___________________ in their apartment.
- We ___________________ in our classroom.
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
|to characterize or define the subject||Noun: person, place, thing, or idea||
|to show time, dates, or place||Preposition + noun = Prepositional Phrase||
|to show location||Location words: here, there, near, far, inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs||
|to show place of origin||Use the preposition “from”||
|in “there” sentences||
The subject comes after the BE verb
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.
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.
- 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, andare. 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|
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.
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
Directions: Complete the sentences with the correct form of the BE verb.
- He _______________ from China.
- I _______________ a cashier.
- She _______________ late for class.
- They _______________ hungry.
- You _______________ busy.
- It _______________ dark now.
- We _______________ students.
- Kit _______________ a teacher.
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.
- 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 ___________.
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.
Here are the BE verb forms with their contractions. Contractions shorten and combine two words. This is very common in English.
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.|
Directions: Change the full forms to contractions.
I am Ana. → I’m Ana.
- It is really nice in the park.
- We are average height.
- I am from Guatemala.
- We are homesick for Guatemala.
- He is a student.
- She is a great cook.
- We are hungry for Mom’s pupusas.
- We are tired of the cold!
- It is a good playground.
- 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.|
||are not||at school.|
Directions: Change the affirmative sentences to negative sentences. Add not between the BE verb and the adjective, noun, or prepositional phrase. Use full forms.
- Tigers are blue and orange.
- Chicago is a country.
- The park is downtown.
- Dogs are quiet.
- Cats are loud.
- She is a nurse.
- He is tall.
- They are from China.
Negative Contractions with the BE Verb
There are two ways to make negative contractions with the BE verb:
- contract the subject and verb (he is not = he’s not), or
- contract the verb and the negative (he is not = he isn’t).
Directions: Change the full forms to contractions.
Tigers are not blue and orange. → Tigers aren’t blue and orange.
- Ana and Pedro are not from France.
- Ana and Pedro are not tall.
- Our apartment is not on the third floor.
- Our mom is not a terrible cook.
- We are not thin.
- We are not students at Portland Community College.
- There is not a patio outside our front door.
- Ana is not 40 years old.
Using Adjectives with the BE Verb
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.
- The United States is big.
- English is not easy.
- I’m happy.
Directions: Your instructor will give you a BINGO card. You are trying to get a straight line across, diagonal, or down. First, write the correct form of the BE verb on the line. Second, the teacher will read a sentence. Listen for the sentence. When you hear it, make an X through that square.
Yes/no questions mean that the answer to the question is either yes or no. These questions don’t use wh- question words.
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.