Writing English Sentences: Verb – be

Writing English Sentences: Verb – be

Verb – be is the third article in the series Writing English Essays.

  1. To read the first article follow the link to Writing English Essays: What is a Sentence?
  2. To read the second article follow the link to Writing English Essays: Parts of Speech.

The Verb – be

verb - be

Subject Verb agreement with verb “be”

Basic Rule. A singular subject (she, Bill, car) takes a singular verb (is, goes, shines), whereas a plural subject takes a plural verb.

For example:  The list of books is/are on the desk.
If you know that list is the subject, then you will choose is for the verb because list is singular and is is singular. We will cover a lot more about subject verb agreement in another post.

Sentence patterns with verb “be”

Most sentences with the verb be have some other information after the be verb.

  • Some sentences have a noun or noun phrase. These tell us another word for the subject of the sentence. This tells us who or what is the subject.

For example: John is my classmate. (Who is John?)
For example: The Altantic is an ocean.  (What is the Alantic?)

  • Some have an adjective or adjective phrase. These tell us what the subject (person or thing) is like.  They answer thee question what was the subject (person or thing) like.

For example: The river is deep. (What is the river like?)
For example: Phnom Penh is bustling and interesting. (What is Phnom Penh like?)

  • Some have a prepositional phrase. These answer the question where. They give a location or place of the subject. When more than one prepositional phrase is used, it’s called an adverb phrase.

For example: The book is on the table. (Where is the book?)
For example: Sydney is on the east coast of Australia. (Where is Sydney?)

Writing English Essays: verb – be subject verb agreement.

Answer the following question with am is/isn’t, or are to show subject verb agreement of the verb – be.

  1. I _____ from Perth.
  2. Perth _____ a city on the west coast of Australia.
  3. It _____ the capital of Western Australia, but it _____ the capital of Australia.
  4. It _____ a progressive, modern city, and it _____ popular for Asian tourists.
  5. The weather ____ temperate, and the people _____ friendly.
  6. I ____ proud of my city.

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