Unit 15: The verb "BE"

    Share
    avatar
    nuhru_1098
    Admin
    Admin

    Number of posts : 452
    Registration date : 2008-07-15

    Post Unit 15: The verb "BE"

    Post by nuhru_1098 on Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:05 pm

    Using the Most Basic Verb in English

    The verb to be is a key verb in English, playing a major part in many types of constructions, as in all other European languages ( etre in French, sein in German, ser/estar in Spanish). It has many usages and meanings, both as a main verb and as an auxiliary verb. It also acts differently in negative sentences and questions. To know more, read these sections of our review on the verb to be in English.

    1. Forms
    2. Meaning
    3. Uses
    4. In negative sentences.
    5. In questions
    6. With time expressions
    7. Summary


    1. Forms

    The verb to be has the most forms in English (8 forms):
    Base form Present Participle Past Participle
    be being been
    Present Simple Tense Past Simple Tense

    I am
    He, She, It is
    We, You, They are I, He, She, It was
    We, You, They were



    2. Meaning

    • As a main verb in a sentence, to be is a stative verb serving as a copula (a verb linking the subject with its complement). As every sentence in English must have a verb, to be is used in many cases where there is no action described in the sentence.

    I am Dan Smith. She is a doctor. We are from Spain.
    [Existence, identity]

    He was with his sister in Madrid while we were at home.
    [Location]

    I will be 32 in December.
    [Age]

    This dress is size 9. Her last apartment was very small.
    [Size]

    The sky is blue, and so is my favorite color.
    [Color]

    We are from Italy.
    [Origin]

    How are you today ? I ’m fine, thanks.
    [Mood]

    My new teacher is very nice.
    The results of our research are very promising.
    [copula]

    • To be is also part of many commonly used verb phrases, such as the following:
    to be afraid, to be aware of, to be happy, to be derived from


    3. Uses

    As an auxiliary verb, to be is used to create progressive verb forms and passive constructions.

    • The general formula for progressive forms is:
    Auxiliary verb + Main verb
    Be + Present Participle (Ving)


    Donna is reading her new book.
    [ is reading is in the Present Progressive Tense]

    Her Parents have been working in book publishing for years.
    [ have been publishing is in the Present Progressive Tense]

    Ron may be traveling in India next month.
    [ may be traveling is a modal progressive form]

    • The general formula for passive forms is:
    Auxiliary verb + Main verb
    Be + Past Participle

    English is spoken around the world.
    [ is spoken is in the Present Simple Passive]

    While the new airport was being built, my parents decided to move.
    [ Was being built is in the Past Progressive Passive]

    This story could have been written differently.
    [ could have been written is in a modal perfect passive form]


    4. In negative sentences

    When a sentence in either the Present Simple or Past Simple tenses has to be as a main verb, then no auxiliary verb is needed for negation. The word not is simply added after the verb. In other words, the verbs to be and to do do not appear in one verb phrase together.
    Positive sentence – She is from Spain.
    Negative sentence – She is not from Spain.
    [ to be is the main verb, no auxiliary verb needed]

    Positive sentence – She works in Madrid.
    Negative Sentence – She doesn’t work in Madrid.
    [ to be is not he main verb, auxiliary verb needed]


    5. In questions


    When a sentence in either the Present Simple or Past Simple tenses has to be as a main verb, then no auxiliary verb is needed for forming questions. The be verb form is inverted before the subject. In other words, the verbs to be and to do do not appear in one verb phrase together.
    Positive sentence – She is from Spain.
    Yes/No question – Is she from Spain ?
    [ to be is the main verb, no auxiliary verb needed]

    Positive sentence – She works in Madrid.
    Yes/No question – Does she work in Madrid ?
    [ to be is not he main verb, auxiliary verb needed]

    Positive sentence – She is from Spain.
    Wh question – Where is she from ?
    [ to be is the main verb, no auxiliary verb needed]

    Positive sentence – She works in Madrid.
    Wh question – Where does she work in ?
    [ to be is not he main verb, auxiliary verb needed]

    Positive sentence – She is my friend from Spain.
    Wh Subject question – Who is she ?
    [ to be is the main verb, no auxiliary verb needed in a Wh subject question]

    Positive sentence – My Spanish friend works in Madrid.
    Wh Subject question – Who works in Madrid ?
    [ to be is not he main verb, no auxiliary verb needed in a Wh subject question]


    6. With time expressions

    Frequency adverbs appear after the verb to be and not before, as with other verbs.
    She is usually on time and always works very well.
    [ usually appears after is, always appears before works]




    Font: whitesmoke.com

      Current date/time is Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:51 pm