To Be - Present Tense

English Grammar Rules

To Be - Affirmative

Subject To Be Examples
I am I am from New Zealand.
You are You are Chilean.
He is He is twenty years old.
She is She is a nurse.
It is It is a big dog.
We are We are intelligent.
You are You are students.
They are They are married.


To Be - Contractions

Contractions of To Be are very frequent when we are speaking.

To Be Contraction Examples
I am I'm I'm from New Zealand.
You are You're You're Chilean.
He is He's He's twenty years old.
She is She's She's a nurse.
It is It's It's a big dog.
We are We're We're intelligent.
You are You're You're students.
They are They're They're married.


To Be - Negative Sentences

The negative of To Be can be made by adding not after the verb.

Subject To Be Examples
I am not I am not from Spain.
You are not You are not Australian.
He is not He is not thirty years old.
She is not She is not a secretary.
It is not It is not a small cat.
We are not We are not stupid.
You are not You are not teachers.
They are not They are not single.


To Be - Negative Contractions

There are two ways of forming contractions of To Be in negative sentences. One is with a contraction of the subject and the verb (e.g. I am = I'm) OR a contraction of the verb and not (e.g. are not = aren't)

I'm not from Spain. --- --------------*
You're not Australian. OR You aren't Australian.
He's not thirty years old. OR He isn't thirty years old.
She's not a secretary. OR She isn't a secretary.
It's not a small cat. OR It isn't a small cat.
We're not stupid. OR We aren't stupid.
You're not teachers. OR You aren't teachers.
They're not single. OR They aren't single.

* Notice that the only possible contraction for I am not is I'm not.


To Be - Questions

To create questions with To Be, you put the Verb before the Subject.

Affirmative You are happy.
  Subject Verb  
 
Question Are you happy?
  Verb Subject  


Affirmative Question
I am intelligent. Am I intelligent?
You are a student. Are you a student?
He is a pilot. Is he a pilot?
She is from Spain. Is she from Spain?
It is a big house. Is it a big house?
We are ready. Are we ready?
You are doctors. Are you doctors?
They are rich. Are they rich?


To Be - Short Answers

In spoken English, we usually give short answers in response to questions.

Are you a student? - Yes, I am (a student). The last part (a student) is not necessary. We use shorts answers to avoid repetition, when the meaning is clear.

Question Short Answers** Short Answers
Am I intelligent? Yes, you are. No, you aren't.
Are you a student? Yes, I am. No, I am not.
Is he a pilot? Yes, he is. No, he isn't.
Is she from Spain? Yes, she is. No, she isn't.
Is it a big house? Yes, it is. No, it isn't.
Are we ready? Yes, we are. No, we aren't.
Are you doctors? Yes, we are. No, we aren't.
Are they rich? Yes, they are. No, they aren't.

** With To Be, We don't use contractions in affirmative short answers unless there is additional information after it (in which case they are no longer considered short answers).




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Try our interactive game to practice To Be in the Present Tense.

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Last Updated: 25 September 2014
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