5 To be Interrogative

Introduction

To be is an auxiliary verb and it is essential in grammar.

When expressed in its interrogative form, the verb is used to ask something about the subject.

Form

To be is an irregular verb and, in the interrogative form (possible because of inversion), it has this structure:
To be + subject + …?

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.

Example

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 Harry Potter on the TV?
    • Are the eggs in the box?

Use

To be has a very basic structure, when it is used as a linking word between other classes of words (subjects, nouns, adjectives, complements…), it gives us more details about the condition of the subject.

To be is used with:

  1. Nouns;
  2. Adjectives;
  3. Prepositional phrases (or complements).

To be, in its interrogative form, is used to ask for the characteristics of the subject, for example: age, behaviour, colour, jobs, nationality, personality, place, price, qualities, size, time…

Summary

To be is one of the most commonly used auxiliary verbs. To be is often used with nouns, adjectives and prepositional phrases. In its interrogative form, it asks for the characteristics of the subject.

The structure is:
To be + subject + …?

Interrogative form: Am (I…?), Are (you…?), Is (he/she/it…?), Are (we/you/they…?).

For example:
— “Am I tall?” = We use Am for the first person singular.
— “Is he tall?” = We use Is for the third person singular.
— “Are they tall?” = We use Are for plurals.

NOTE: Short forms don’t exist for the interrogative form (Is he tall? / ‘s he tall?).

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

Exercises


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ARCHIVED: English Grammar A1 Level - V1 Copyright © 2018 by books4languages. All Rights Reserved.