Grammar Lessons: The Verb To be

The Verb To Be
Verb to Be: I am a DJ

The Verb To Be

The verb to has many uses, you can use to make sentences:

  • to talk about the past (I was a janitor)
  • to talk about actions that are taking place in this moment (I am writing)
  • to talk about actions that will take place in the future (I will be a good student)
  • You can also use the verb to be for the passive voice in english (the house was built by me)

Verb To Be Basic Usage

The Verb to Be is used to say something about a person, thing, or state, to show a permanent or temporary quality


  • He is rich
  • It’s cold today
  • We are friends
  • We are friends

We can use be to talk about a person’s job or profession:


  • She is a teacher.
  • He is a lawyer
  • I am a priest
  • My brothers are police officers
  • My grandmother was a nurse.

We use be to talk about age:


  • She is 14 years old
  • She will be 18 tomorrow
  • She was 18 when she joined the army

We use be to talk how people are related:


  • He is my father and she is my mother
  • She was my girlfriend for two years
  • They are my best friends

We can use be to talk about behaviour and personality:


  • We are pretty smart
  • She is really nice
  • They are really cool
  • I am really awesome
  • They are mean kids

We use be to talk about our nationality and our identity within groups or clubs:


  • I am a Real Madrid Fan
  • She is irish
  • They are from Costa Rica

Verb to Be: How to Make Contractions

These are some example that show to make contraction with the verb to be

Uncontracted Form Contracted Form
 I am a janitor I’m a janitor
You are funnyYou’re funny
she is my friendShe’s my friend
he is a doctorHe’s a doctor
it is my dogIt’s my dog
We are at homeWe’re home
They are crazyThey’re crazy

Verb to be: How to Make Negative Sentences

These are some examples that show how to make affirmative and negative sentences with the verb to be.

Positive Negative Contracted Form
 I am janitor I am not a janitor I‘m not a janitor
 You are funny You are not funny You aren’t funny
 She is my friend She is not my friend She isn’t my friend
 He is a doctor  He is not a doctor  He isn’t a doctor
 It is my dog It is not my dog It isn’t my dog
We are at home We are not at home We aren’t at home
They are crazyThey are not crazyThey aren’t crazy

 Verb to Be: How to Make Questions

These are some examples that show how to make questions with the verb to be:

Positive Questions
 I am a janitorAm I a janitor?
You are funnyAre you funny
she is my friendIs she my friend?
he is a doctorIs he a doctor?
it is my dogIs it my dog?
We are at homeAre we home?
They are crazyAre they crazy?

Verb be followed by a to infinitive

We use some nouns with the verb be followed by a to infinitive:

The only way is to start all over again.
His answer is to work a bit harder.
Her only hope was to buy a new house as soon as possible.
The easiest thing would be to ask your brother.

Video Explanations

Test Your Knowledge Right Now

Verb to be Quiz

Test your Knowledge of the verb to be by completing this quiz

More Information

If you need more information about grammar explanations, exercises and worksheet on other topics, make sure to visit recommends the Cambridge Online Dictionary as a great tools to check unknown words

Follow on Facebook

Make sure you follow on Facebook:

  1. Teaching English in Costa Rica
  3. Aprende Inglés –
Ir arriba