Noun + To Be + Noun

English Grammar Rules

Nouns are words that name things. Some common nouns include those used for animals, countries, food, languages, cities and countries.

When we are explaining things, we use Noun + To Be + Noun:

  • English is a language. (Noun + To Be + Noun)
  • A chicken is a bird. (Noun + To Be + Noun)

Singular Noun + IS + Singular Noun

We use IS between the two singular nouns.

  • Champagne is a drink.
  • Paris is a city.
  • France is a country.
  • French is a language.
  • Europe is a continent.

Note that we normally use an article (A / AN) before a singular noun.

Articles + Nouns

'A' or 'AN' are articles. In English we normally use articles before singular nouns.

A is used before a word that begins with a consonant.
AN is used before a word that begins with a vowel.

Vowels: A, E, I, O, U.
Consonants: B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, Z.

For example:

  • Chile is a country. (A before consonant)
  • Santiago is a city. (A before consonant)
  • An apple is a fruit (A before consonant)
  • A dog is an animal. (AN before vowel)
  • A mosquito is an insect. (AN before vowel)
  • Qantas is an airline. (AN before vowel)

Plural Noun + Are + Plural Noun

Singular Noun + IS + Singular Noun
Plural Noun + ARE + Plural Noun

Note that we do not use an article (A / AN) with a plural noun.

For example:

  • A dog is an animal. (singular)
  • Dogs are animals. (plural)
  • Spanish is a language. (singular)
  • Spanish and Italian are languages. (plural)
  • Cities are places. (plural)
  • Countries are states. (plural)

Next activity

Try our interactive game about: Noun + To Be + Noun

See our grammar notes about making Plural Nouns - Regular & Irregular.

Read our notes about Articles in English (A, An, The) and when to use them.

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Last Updated: 02 December 2014
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