In Grammar By Catherine

The use of the verb to be: how, where and why

First, consider the peculiarities of constructing sentences in the English language. Historically, each complete English sentence must necessarily include two elements: the subject (what is the subject that is central to the proposal), and the action that the subject (that is, the verb answers the question «what to do»). For example, in the sentence «I work on Monday,» the subject — «I», the action — is «working.» In the sentence «She understood» subject — «she», the action — «understood.» But not always so obvious action. There are situations where the Russian language it is not there. For example, «This work is interesting.» The subject here is: «work». Action is absent. Or another example: «It is — a good specialist.» The subject — «he.» Where is the action? It is again absent. So, we are seeing a phenomenon in which the Russian language there are such proposals, but they correctly translated into English and from which to take action is unclear.


  • For more information about building sentences in the English language, read the article of the same name.

The verb to be in the English language

Now came the turn of the stage to invite the verb to be. To be means «to be», «to be» and that he will help us in the situations described above. That is in English rather than simply say, «This work is interesting,» we say, «This work is interesting.» «It is — a good specialist,» become «He is a good professional.» «I’m at work» will be, «I HAVE to work.» Thus, in all the proposals, which we describe someone or something and tell where we or someone else is, as the action will act exactly the verb to be.

Once in the Russian verb «to be» used in the present tense. Everyone remembers the famous phrase «I am the King» from the movie «Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation»? «AM» — is not nothing but a contemporary «is» that process of evolution in the Russian language ceased to be used in the present tense. So now we say simply «I am the king,» and not «I am the king.» But in English, we have to say is «I Am King» to the proposal sounded correctly.

The forms of the verb to be in the English language

Our next step is to get acquainted with the forms of the verb to be. This time three of them: am, is, and are — three managers, each responsible for its own area:

  • I am responsible for the proposal, in which the subject — the pronoun «I» (I);
  • is used when the subject is we — the pronoun «he», «she», «it», «it» and any singular noun (for example, a bag, a dog, a book, work, my sister, and so on. d. );
  • are constructing sentences in which the subject — the pronoun «you», «you», «them», and plural nouns (eg, friends, issues, job, house, and so on. d.).

Let’s see how proposals will be built with to be in practice.

Russian proposal The British proposal
She’s busy.
We are at work.
My colleagues are free.
It’s complicated.
Your house is big.
These problems are serious.
I’m ready.
She is busy.
We are at work.
My colleagues are free.
It is difficult.
Your house is big.
These problems are serious.
I am ready.

In colloquial English, to save time on the pronunciation of these forms, taken to reduce their first letter and replace it with an apostrophe, as shown below:

  • I am → I’m
  • He is → He’s
  • She is → She’s
  • It is → It’s
  • You are → You’re
  • We are → We’re
  • They are → They’re

Of course, any Englishman, for example, instead of «I am busy» to say «I’m busy».

Denial of the verb to be in the English language

Now let’s look at how to say «it’s not hard,» «I’m not busy,» «they are not ready,» that is to build the denial. The denial is based is very simple: with the help of negative particles NOT, which is placed after am, is or are. For example, «I’m not busy,» so we say: «I am NOT busy». Look at the example:

Russian proposal The British proposal
They are not ready.
It is not hard.
My sister is not at work.
Their car is not new.
This job is not important.
They are not ready.
It is not difficult.
My sister is not at work.
Their car is not new.
This task is not important.

Naturally, there has not been without reductions taken in conversational English. Particle NOT prisodinyaetsya to the forms of the is and are, and get this:

  • Is + NOT = Is not
  • Are + NOT = Are not

Oddly enough, but the form am not involved in such a reduction, and the option amn’t in the English language does not exist.

  • Negation in English on our blog in a separate article.

Questions from the verb to be in the English language

It is the turn of questions. Questions from the verb to be also constructed simple: form am, is, are submitted in advance and are at the beginning of sentences. If we want to ask, «Are you busy?», We will do so: «Are you busy?». Construction of questions shown in the examples below:

Russian proposal The British proposal
Are you at home?
They are busy?
Your car red?
He’s at work?
It’s here?
The books on the table?
We are ready?
Are you at home?
Are they busy?
Is your car red?
Is he at work?
Is it here?
Are the books on the table?
Are we ready?
  • With more complete information on questions in the English language, you can see in one of our articles.

The verb to be in the English language. Video

We also invite you to see how the subject explains a native speaker. For them, the use of the verb to be is a matter of course, so it will be interesting to see how they explain the use to be and why it is important to use.

As we can see, the use of the verb to be is not difficult. It is much harder to assess the situation, where you need it, and where not. As mentioned earlier in this article, the verb to be used as our offer is not the main action (to think, to work, to read, to run, and so on. N.). This proposal, which we have something or someone to describe («The city beautiful», «We are busy»), tells about someone’s whereabouts («My brother is at work»), we characterize someone («She — perfect employee «). Conversely, the verb to be is not used when the sentence has the main action *. For example: «I go to the movies,» «She reads a lot,» «We do not work on Sunday,» and so on. D. That is to say «She is read a lot» is a gross mistake, is not needed here, as is the action read.

* Note that the verb to be used as an aid in the construction of the word since the group Continuous, and, of course, he has to go, even if the sentence is the main action. But this action in such cases will have to go to the end ing. Combinations to be the first form, and (do, read, work) of the main action does not happen.

Now try to do the following exercises:

 

Grammar

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