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Lesson 6.2

To Be

Ser/Estar
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The verb “to be” is both the most important verb in the English language and the most complicated. It is used as both a principal verb and an auxiliary verb and is irregular in both the present and past tenses.

Grammatical Rules

Affirmative

Subject Present Simple Short Form
I   am   I’m
you   are   you’re
he   is   he’s
she   is   she’s
it   is   it’s
we   are   we’re
they   are   they’re

Negative

Subject Present Simple Short Form
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   we’re not/we aren’t
they   are not   they’re not/they aren’t

Interrogative

Note: In questions with the verb “to be”, the subject and verb change position.

Present Simple
  Am I?
  Are you?
  Is he?
  Is she?
  Is it?
  Are we?
  Are they?

Uses

1. We use “to be” as a principal verb to show the status or characteristics of somebody or something (as a stative verb). It can also be used with prepositions of place to indicate where something is located.

Examples:

With a noun:

 I am a teacher.
 You aren’t a student.
 Is he a doctor?

With a preposition of place + a location:

 She is in New York.
 They aren’t at home.
 Is the book on the table?

With an adjetive:

 We are happy.
 He isn’t sad.
 Are you tired?

2. “To be” is used as an auxiliary verb to form the present continuous verb tense and the passive voice which will be introduced in later lessons. For more information on auxiliary verbs, see the verbs lesson.

2. “To be” is used as an auxiliary verb to form the present continuous verb tense and the passive voice which will be introduced in later lessons. For more information on auxiliary verbs, see the Verbs lesson.

3. To show that something exists, we combine “is” or “are” with “there”. See the lesson on There be for more information.

3. To show that something exists, we combine “is” or “are” with “there”. See the lesson, There Be, for more information.

4. “To be”, like many other verbs, can be used with a prepositional phrase. See the lesson on Phrasal and Prepositional Verbs.

4. “To be”, like many other verbs, can be used with a prepositional phrase. See the lesson Phrasal and Prepositional Verbs for more information.

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6.1 Verbs

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