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Unit 1.1

To Be – Negative


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

When expressed in its negative form, the verb denies something about the subject.

To be is an irregular verb and the negative form has this structure:
Subject + to be + not.

I am not I’m not
You are not You’re not/You aren’t
He is not He’s not/He isn’t
She is not She’s not/She isn’t
It is not It’s not/It isn’t
We are not We’re not/We aren’t
You are not You’re not/You aren’t
They are not They’re not/They aren’t

*Short forms are usually used in spoken and informal English.

To be is used with:

  1.  Nouns
    • I am not a student.
    • He is not a lawyer.
    • We are not doctors.
  2.  Adjectives
    • I am not tall.
    • He is not polite.
    • Many people are not happy.
  3.  Prepositional phrases (or complements)
    • My book is not on the bed.
    • There is not a good movie on TV.
    • There are not eggs in the box.

To be is used to talk about:

  1. Age
    • You are not 12 years old.
    • He is not 35 years old.
    • We are not 35.
  2.  Price
    • This coat is not $100.
    • This dress is not $50.
    • The books are not $80 in total.
  3.  Size
    • A standard double bed is not 5 feet wide.
    • The dress is not medium.
    • The blue shoes are not size 38.
  4. Shape
    • The table is not square.
    • The building is not rectangle-shaped.
    • The tower is not oval-shaped.
  5.  Colour
    • My hair is not brown.
    • His eyes are not green.
    • Our room is not pink.
  6. Nationality
    • I am not from Greece.
    • He is not Italian.
    • They are not French.

Short forms:

  • You aren’t 12 years old.
  • This coat isn’t $100.
  • Standard double beds aren’t 5 feet wide.

To be has a very basic structure, when it is used as a linking word between other classes of words (subjects, nouns, adjectives, complements, etc.), 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 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 negative form, something about the subject is denied (when we are describing this subject). To be is often used with nouns, adjectives and prepositional phrases.

The verb to be in its negative form has this structure:
Subject + to be + not.

For example:
— “I’m not an actress.
— “He’s not tall.”
— “They are not from UK.

The verb to be gives information and confirms the characteristics of the subjects.

NOTE: We use the short form in spoken language or informal writings.

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


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