Grammar

The simple present (to be)

You will learn the simple present tense of the verb to be. Before you continue the lesson read the following dialougue and try to see how the verb “to be” is formed and used.

classroom

Nancy is a new student.

Teacher: Hi! Who are you?
Nancy: Hi! I am Nancy. I am a new student.
Teacher: Hi! Nancy. I am Mr Jackson your English teacher.
Nancy: Nice to meet you.
Teacher: Nice to meet you too. Please, have a seat.
Nancy: Who is she?
Teacher: She‘s Nancy, your classmate.
Students: And we are your classmates, too.
Nancy: Pleased to meet you.
Leila: Are you French Nancy?
Nancy: No, I’m not. I’m Australian.
Nadia: Is Nancy Italian?
Leila: No, she is not. She’s Australian.
Nadia: Are Nancy’s family French?
Leila: No, they aren’t. They are Australian.

The verb to be:

The verb “to be” is the most important verb in the English language.  It is difficult to use because it is an irregular verb in almost all of its forms.  In the simple present tense, to be is conjugated as follows:

Affirmative forms of the verb to be:

Subject Pronouns Full Form Contracted form
I
am
‘m
you
are
‘re
he/she/it
is
‘s
we
are
‘re
you
are
‘re
they
are
‘re

Interrogative forms of the verb to be:

Am
I?
Are
you?
Is
he/she/it?
Are
we?
Are
you ?
Are
they?

Negative Forms of the verb to be:

Subject Pronouns Full Form Contracted form
I
am not
‘m not
you
are not
aren’t
he/she/it
is not
isn’t
we
are not
aren’t
you
are not
aren’t
they
are not
aren’t

Examples:

  • Is Brad Pitt French?
  • No, he isn’t. He‘s American.
  • What about Angelina Joli? Is she American, too?
  • Yes, she is. She is Amarican.
  • Are brad Pitt and Angelina Joli French?
  • No, They aren’t. They are American.

Remember:

  • I, you, he, she, it, you, they” are personal pronouns (also called subject pronouns.)
  • Am, are, is” are forms of the verb to be in the simple present.
  • ‘m, ‘re, ‘s” are short (contracted) forms of  “am, are, is
  • ‘m not, aren’t, isn’t” are short (contracted forms) of “am not, are not, is not
  • Use the simple present tense to indicate:
    1. Routine actions, habits
    2. Facts
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