Grammar Lesson: The verb “to be”

Welcome, language learners! Today, we embark on an exciting journey to demystify one of the most fundamental verbs in the English language: ‘to be.’

This versatile little verb plays a crucial role in constructing basic sentences, expressing identity, describing characteristics, and much more.

By understanding and mastering the verb ‘to be,’ you’ll unlock a world of possibilities in your English fluency. So, let’s dive in and explore the depths of this mighty verb!

The Simple Present Tense

The verb ‘to be‘ is unique in that it doesn’t need an auxiliary verb to form sentences in the simple present tense. It stands on its own, taking different forms based on the subject.

Affirmative Sentences:

In the simple present tense, we use ‘am’ with the pronoun ‘I,’ ‘is’ with the pronouns ‘he,’ ‘she,’ and ‘it,’ and ‘are’ with the pronouns ‘you,’ ‘we,’ and ‘they.’ Remember, the verb form should always agree with the subject.


  • I am a student.
  • He is tall.
  • She is intelligent.
  • It is sunny today.
  • You are my friend.
  • We are excited.
  • They are happy.

Negative Sentences:

To form negative sentences, we add ‘not‘ after the verb ‘to be.‘ The contracted forms ‘aren’t,’ and ‘isn’t’ are commonly used in spoken English.


  • I am not tired.
  • He isn’t feeling well.
  • She isn’t happy.
  • It isn’t cold outside.
  • You aren’t late.
  • We aren’t ready yet.
  • They aren’t busy.

Interrogative Sentences

When asking questions with ‘to be’ in the simple present tense, we invert the subject and the verb. Additionally, the question words ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘why,’ ‘who,’ and ‘how’ are often used to seek specific information.


  • Am I late?
  • Is he your brother?
  • Is she ready to go?
  • Is it raining?
  • Are you a teacher?
  • Are we friends?
  • Are they coming to the party?

The Simple Past Tense:

In the simple past tense, ‘to be’ changes its form. Here, ‘was’ is used with the pronouns ‘I,’ ‘he,’ ‘she,’ and ‘it,’ while ‘were’ is used with ‘you,’ ‘we,’ and ‘they.’

Affirmative Sentences:

Similar to the simple present tense, the verb form should agree with the subject.


  • I was happy yesterday.
  • He was at the park.
  • She was tired after work.
  • It was a beautiful day.
  • You were excited.
  • We were studying.
  • They were playing football.

Negative Sentences:

To form negative sentences in the simple past tense, we simply add ‘not’ after the verb ‘to be.’


  • I was not feeling well.
  • He wasn’t there.
  • She wasn’t sad.
  • It wasn’t his fault.
  • You weren’t at home.
  • We weren’t ready.
  • They weren’t aware.

Interrogative Sentences:

In interrogative sentences with ‘to be’ in the simple past tense, we invert the subject and the verb; similarly to statement sentences.


  • Was I late?
  • Was he at the party?
  • Was she happy?
  • Was it cold?
  • Were you there?
  • Were we friends?
  • Were they ready?


Congratulations on completing your lesson on ‘to be’!

By grasping the usage of this vital verb in the simple present and simple past tense, you’ve taken a significant step toward building your English fluency. Remember to practice and apply this knowledge in real-life conversations to reinforce your understanding.

Stay tuned for more exciting lessons that will boost your English skills. Until next time, keep exploring, keep learning, and keep shining in your journey to becoming confident and fluent speakers of the English language!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *