Unit 1.1

To Be: use


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We use to be to talk about the characteristics of the subject (for example: age, behaviour, colour, jobs, nationality, personality, place, price, qualities, size, time…)

We use it in its three forms:

  • in the affirmative, to confirm;
  • in the negative, to deny;
  • in the interrogative, to ask.


To be is used with:

  1. Nouns
    • I am a student.
      I am not a student.
      Am I a student?
    • He is a lawyer.
      He is not a lawyer.
      Is he a lawyer?
    • We are doctors.
      We are not doctors.
      Are we doctors?
  2.  Adjectives
    • I am tall.
      I am not tall.
      Am I tall?
    • He is polite.
      He is not polite.
      Is he polite?
    • Many people are happy.
      Many people are not happy.
      Are many people happy?
  3.  Prepositional phrases (or complements)
    • My book is on the bed.
      My book is not on the bed.
      Is my book on the bed?
    • Harry Potter is on the TV.
      Harry Potter is not on the TV.
      Is Harry Potter on the TV?
    • The eggs are in the box.
      The eggs are not in the box.
      Are the eggs in the box?

To be can also be used in short forms:

  • I’m 12 years old.
    You aren’t 12 years old.
  • This coats $100.
    This coat isn’t $100.
  • Theyre my best friends.
    Standard double beds aren’t 5 feet wide.


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