Verb to be

How to Use Verb to be

We use the Simple Present of verb to be to give personal information or to talk about other people, we also use it to talk about objects, places, time and the weather.

When we use the verb to be in the Simple Present, it becomes am, is or are.

We usually use the short forms of am,is,are. (e.g. I am =I'm, she is = she's, etc.)

Let’s see some uses of verb to be in simple present.

We use verb to be in the present tense to talk about:

People’s name

  • Shes Erica.
  • His name is Martin.
  • This is Jessica.

People’s nationality

  • Im Russian.
  • Hes from Spain. He’s Spanish.
  • They are Swedish.

People’s age

  • My fathers 67 years old.
  • Im 21.
  • You are just 22 years old.

People’s job

  • She’s a doctor.
  • Theyre engineers.
  • Ryan Reynolds is an actor.

Marital Status

  • Im married.
  • She’s engaged.
  • Samantha is single.

People’s favourite color/song/sports, etc.

  • My favourite color is white.
  • His favourite sports are cycling and basketball.
  • Her favorite singer is Beyonce.

People’s feelings and emotions

  • Im thirsty.
  • Shes scared.
  • Hes angry.
  • Theyre nervous.
  • We’re tired.

People’s appearance and personality

  • They are tall.
  • She’s beautiful.
  • I’m slim.
  • You’re energetic.
  • He’s confident.
  • Alissa is so clever.
  • They are very generous.

Objects and possessions

  • The box is big and round.
  • This bag is heavy.
  • These are my books.
  • It’s my car.
  • That's your room.

Places of the objects (with prepositions)

  • Your pen is on the table.
  • She’s at home.
  • The umbrella is in my car.
  • Her bag is behind the table.

Times and dates

  • Today is March 12, 2012.
  • It’s 8:30.

The weather

  • It’s cloudy.
  • It’s hot.
  • The weather is rainy.
  • It's windy outside.

How to Form Verb to be

Positive Sentences (+)

The present simple of the verb to be is, am,is,are.
To form a positive sentence with verb to be, we simply add am,is,are after I,you,we,they,he,she,it.

I am a student.

You are beautiful.

He is Italian.

She is 15 years old.

It is sunny.

We are married.

You are tired.

They are happy.

We can also use the short form of am,is,are.

Contractions(Short forms)

I am - I’m              

you are - you’re     

he is - he’s     

she is - she’s   

it is -  it’s

we are - we’re        

they are - they’re

Let’s see some examples:

  • I’m from Poland.
  • She’s a ballerina.
  • We’re Italian.
  • He’s 34.
  • It’s delicious.
  • We’re at home.

Negative Sentences (-)

To form a negative sentence with verb to be, we add am,is,are + not after I,you,we, they,he,she,it.

I am not a doctor.

You are not late.

He is not sad.

She is not ill.

It is not cold.

We are not Spanish.

You are not a football player.

They are not angry.

In negative sentences you can use the short forms with different subjects as below:

I am not - I'm not

You are not - you aren't 

He is not - he isn't

She is not - she isn't 

It is not - it isn't 

We are not - we aren't 

You are not - you aren't 

They are not - they aren't 

Let’s see some examples:

  • I’m not 23 years old.
  • She’s not Brazilian.
  • They aren't  in Berlin.
  • It’s not cold outside.
  • We aren't ready yet.

Questions (?)

To form questions with verb to be, we use am,is,are at the beginning of the sentence, before I, you, we, they, he, she, it.

Am I late?

Are you nervous?

Is he 25?

Is she tall?

Is it sunny?

Are we the winners?

Are they Chinese?

Let’s see some examples:

  • Are you Katherine?
  • Is he from Germany?
  • Is she a singer?
  • Is it your bag?
  • Are they in South Africa?


Positive answers

Yes, I am.

Yes, you are.

Yes, he is.

Yes, she is.

Yes, it is.

Yes, we are.

Yes, you are.

Yes, they are.

Negative answers

No, I am not.

No, you are not.

No, he is not.

No, she is not.

No, it is not.

No, we are not.

No, you are not.

No, they are not.

NOTE: We can also use the short forms in our answers.

Contractions (Short forms)

No, I’m not 35. (We cannot use  I amn’t as the short form of I am not.)
No, you aren’t late.
No, she isn’t my sister.
No, he isn’t a painter.
No, we aren’t in the office.
No, they aren’t hungry.

Wh- Questions

To form wh- questions with verb to be, we use wh- questions words at the beginning of the sentence before am,is,are.

Who are you?

What is it?

Where is she?

How is he?

Where are we?

Who are they?

Let’s see some examples:

  • Who are they?
  • What’s his name?
  • How is the weather?
  • What time is the film?
  • Where is my phone?
  • Why is he here?
  • When is the last train to Hamburg?

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