5 To Be – Interrogative

Verbs

The verb To Be is essential in grammar. It’s an auxiliary verb and is one of the irregular verbs. (We will see its use in combination with other verbs to express actions and behavior in the Present Progressive form).

The Interrogative form is used to ask questions.

The Interrogative form of the verb To Be (made possible thanks to “inversion”) has this structure:
Verb + subject + question mark (?).

VERB TO BE SUBJECT    QUESTION MARK
Am I …?
Are you …?
Is he …?
Is she …?
Is it …?
Are we …?
Are you …?
Are they …?

Short forms do not exist for the interrogative form.

To Be is used with:

  1.  Nouns
    • Am I a student?
    • Is he a lawyer?
    • Are we doctors?
  2.  Adjectives
    • Am I tall?
    • Is he polite?
    • Are many people happy?
  3.  Prepositional phrases
    • Is my book on the bed?
    • Is there a good movie on TV?
    • Are there eggs in the box?

To Be is used to talk about:

  1. Age
    • Am I 12 years old?
    • Is he 35 years old?
    • Are we 35?
  2.  Price
    • Is this coat $100?
    • Is this dress $50?
    • Are the books $80 in total?
  3.  Size
    • Is a standard double bed 5 feet wide?
    • Is the dress medium?
    • Are the blue shoes size 38?
  4. Shape
    • Is the table square?
    • Is the building rectangle-shaped?
    • Is the tower oval-shaped?
  5.  Colour
    • Is my hair brown?
    • Are his eyes green?
    • Is our room pink?
  6. Nationality
    • Am I from Greece?
    • Is he Italian?
    • Are they French?

To Be has a very basic structure, when it is in combination with other classes of words (nouns, adjectives, complements, etc.), it gives us more details about the condition of the subject. It is used as a linking word, between the subject and a complement or adjective, to provide further information about the subject itself.

To Be is used with:

  1. Nouns;
  2. Adjectives;
  3. Prepositional Phrases.

To Be is used to talk about the characteristics of the subject, for example:

  1. Age;
  2. Price;
  3. Size;
  4. Shape;
  5. Colour;
  6. Nationality.

The verb To Be is one of the most commonly used auxiliary verbs. When used in its Interrogative form, we can use it to form questions. To Be is often used with nouns, adjectives and prepositional phrases.

The verb To Be in its Interrogative form has this structure:
Verb + subject + question mark (?) (e.g. Are you an actress?).

For example:
— “Are you an actress?” =  The verb asks information about a characteristic of the subject.
— “Is he tall?” =  The verb asks information about a characteristic of the subject.
— “Is their mom 38 years old?” =  The verb asks information about a characteristic of the subject.

NOTE: The short forms don’t exist for the interrogative form (Is Toni English? – ‘s Toni English?).

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.