To Be

One basic point in English grammar is the use of (TO) BE.

TO BE changes according to its subject. Observe the following examples. Can you see how you use TO BE?

  1. I am now a teacher but two years ago I was still a student at Satya Wacana University.
  2. My father is in his office. He is a diligent worker.
  3. My sons are very sad because their cat is dead.
  4. My uncle is now in Jakarta. Yesterday he was here with us.

For the present time, we use AM for I; ARE for you, we, and they; and IS for he, she, and it. For past you use WAS for I, she, he, and it and WERE for you, we, they.

When do we use TO BE?

When there is no other VERB in the sentence, because a sentence must have SUBJECT and VERB. So, TO BE is the verb.

  1. Some of my students are very clever. Some others arelazy. (clever and lazy are adjectives)
  2. My uncle isa sailor while his wife isa shop-assistant. (a sailor and a shop assistant are NOUNS)
  3. Benny is not here. He is at school. (here and at school are adverbs).

For negative sentences, you just need to add NOT after to be.

  1. I am not a president.
  2. He was not sleepy last night.
  3. Your sons are not in their room.

While for questions, you put to be before the subject, or after question words if you use them

  1. Are you hungry?
  2. Why was your father at my home last night?
  3. Where is you mother? I want to meet her.

OK. So far, can you get it? If you have any questions, just leave your comment.

If you want to do a practice on this topic, please feel free to download this document.

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