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Verb ‘To Be’ For Kids – Uses and Examples

In any sentence, verbs play a very important role in communicating what is going on. It is the most essential part of a sentence. Most sentences would be grammatically incomplete without a verb, with some exceptions like nominal sentences and some exclamatory sentences.  

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The verb “to be” in English is a verb where the action talked about is not a big one, but a rather common one. The action is simply to be. It can have many contexts, such as to be someone (I am Pooja), to be something (This is a pen), to be feeling something (She is upset), to be somewhere (They are in Kerala), to be in a certain state (You are wet) and many more states. 

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Let us understand what the verb “to be” means, with examples of its uses in all its different forms.

What Is The Verb “To Be”? 

The meaning of the verb to be is simply to exist, or to be in a certain state, or to possess certain traits. It is one of the shortest verbs in English. It is the most important, yet oddest, verb in the English language. It’s an irregular verb, because it completely changes its form in each tense, and in the singular and plural form of the first, second and third person.  

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To be” verbs are: are, am, is, was, were, been and being. They are used to describe or tell us the condition of people, things, places and ideas. For example, they could tell us the subject’s age, nationality, job or other traits. 

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Examples Of The Verb “To Be” 

Read this paragraph: 

“Hello! I am Shraddha. I am from Mumbai. I was a writer. Now I am a teacher by profession. My students are in Class 1. They are good at English Grammar, especially Ravi. He is the class topper. Today, there will be a surprise test. It is difficult, but I am sure that all the students will score well. I will be proud of them.” 

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In the above paragraph, you can notice several examples of the use of the verb To Be. Notice that all sentences have at least one form of the verb. Let us break it down and understand this better: 

Uses Of Verb “To Be” 

The verb To Be has several uses, as it talks about existence, states, traits and introduces many details about a person, an object or even a feeling or state. Let us look at some uses and examples of the verb To Be 

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1. For Names 

When you want to tell someone your name, or introduce someone, you make use of the To Be verb in the appropriate form. Here are some examples.  

Examples

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  1. I am Madhu.  
  2. You are Raju. 
  3. We are Mishras. 
  4. She is Shailaja. 
  5. They are the Hingoranis. 

2. For Ages

When you want to tell someone your age, or how old you are, you use the verb To Be. You can even use it in this form to talk about how old, young or new an object or a monument is. 

Examples

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  1. I will be ten years old. 
  2. He is 6 years old. 
  3. This building is 100 years old. 
  4. My grandparents are very old. 

3. For Feelings

When you want to express your feelings, you use the verb To Be before naming the feeling. 

Examples

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  1. We are happy. 
  2. They were sad. 
  3. He will be thrilled. 
  4. She has been worried. 

4. For Nationalities

When you talk about where you are from, you will use the word to be before your nationality in its adjective form, or using the word “from” followed by the name of the place.  

Examples

  1. We are from Thailand. 
  2. He is Indian. 
  3. This is an Italian dish. 

5. For Professions

An important part of introducing yourself is saying what profession you are engaged in. Here are some examples of how you can use the verb to be: 

Examples

  1. You aren’t a painter. 
  2. She was a singer. 
  3. They are builders. 
  4. I am scientist. 
  5. You will be a photographer. 
  6. He is a doctor. 

6. For Descriptions

To describe the state or traits of a particular person or object, you must use the verb to be before the descriptive word. 

Examples

  1. The bottle of water is cold. 
  2. They are wet. 
  3. It is dry. 
  4. She is tall. 
  5. He is kind. 
  6. The blanket is soft. 
  7. The toy is broken. 

Different Forms Of The Verb “To Be” 

In  above examples, you must have taken a look at the verb ‘to be’ in all tenses.  

Present Tense: To Be 

As with any verb, the present tense of the verb to be can take several forms: the indicative or simple present, the present perfect, and the present continuous. The tables below show how to conjugate to be in these forms: 

Singular Plural
I am We are 
You are You are
He/She/It is They are 

Here are some examples of the verb ‘to be’ in simple present tense”

  1. I am Savita. 
  2. You are brave. 
  3. They are our neighbours. 

Negative Form in Simple Present Tense 

The negative forms of “to be” are made by adding “not.”

Singular Plural
I am not
We are not/ aren’t
You are not/ aren’t
You are not/ aren’t
He/ she/ it is not/ isn’t
They are not/ aren’t

Here are the present tense forms: 

  1. I am not happy., We are not happy. 
  2. You are not happy., You are not happy. 
  3. He/she/it is not happy., They are not happy. 

Present Perfect: To Be 

The verb to be in present perfect is formed by combining has or have with the past participle for of be, ie been. It indicates a completed action or one that has happened in the present. 

Singular Plural
I have been We have been
You have been You have been
He/She/It has been They have been

Here are some examples of the present perfect tense of to be: 

  1. I have been unwell. 
  2. He has been to Australia twice. 
  3. They have been here since a long time. 

Present Continuous: To Be 

The present continuous, also known as the present progressive, is generally used to express something happening at the moment. 

Singular Plural
I am being We are being
You are being You are being
He/She/It is being They are being

Here are some sentences with the present continuous form of to be 

  1. You are being unfair. 
  2. He is being nice to you. 
  3. They are being very helpful to us. 

Simple Past: To Be 

Past simple indicates that something happened at a specific time in the past, as in: “Her house was built in 1987.” 

Singular Plural
I was We were
You were You were
He/She/It was They were

Here are some sentences with the simple past form of to be 

  1. I was in a meeting. 
  2. It was a good day. 
  3. They were not at home. 

Negative Form in Simple Past Tense 

Here are the past tense forms: 

Singular Plural
I was not/ wasn’t
We were not/ weren’t
You were not/ weren’t
You were not/ weren’t
He /she/ it was not/ wasn’t
They were not/ weren’t

Here are some sentences with simple past tense:

  1. I was not sad., We were not sad. 
  2. You were not sad., You were not sad. 
  3. He/she/it was not sad., They were not sad. 

Past Perfect: To Be 

The past perfect indicates actions or events that have been completed or have happened in the past. 

Singular Plural
I had been We had been
You had been You had been
He/She/It had been They had been

Let’s use the verb to be in the past perfect tense in sentences: 

  1. I had been there many times. 
  2. You had been a hardworking student. 
  3. He had been the good guy all along. 

Past Continuous: To Be 

The past continuous is usually used to refer to events happening at the same time that something important was occurring. 

Singular Plural
I was being We had beenWe were being 
You were being You were being
He/She/It was being They were being 

Here are examples of the past continuous forms of the verb to be 

  1. I was being frank with you.  
  2. We were being completely honest. 
  3. She was being unjust. 

“To Be” Verbs Questions 

When you write an interrogative sentence with the verb To Be, The sentence must start with the verb form, followed by the subject. It is useful for enquiring about someone or something, its state, its characteristics and details. Here are a few questions that employ the verb “To Be” as the main verb.  

  1. Was I here on time? 
  2. Are you an architect? 
  3. Will we be comfortable in the car? 
  4. Is he alright? 
  5. Has she been late for school everyday? 
  6. Are they being unreasonable? 

Interesting Ways To Teach “To Verbs” To Kids 

The most effective way of teaching the verb to be for kindergarten children is by engaging them in fun. With interesting activities the verb to be’ becomes easier to understand. 

1. Write an essay about “Myself”.

Ask your child to write 5 lines about themselves. They will use sentences like “My name is___.” and “I am ___ years old” which use the verb to be. It will give them practice of using the verb in various contexts. With this activity you will enjoy teaching the verb to be in a fun way. 

2. To Be or NOT To Be! 

The verb To Be can be confused with the auxiliary verb. Give your child sentences and let them guess whether the verb in the sentence is a primary verb or an auxiliary verb. Eg. I am dancing (auxiliary verb)/ I am a dancer (primary verb). Guide them to look for other verbs in the sentence. If the “to be” verb goes along with it, it is an auxiliary verb, also known as helping verb.  

3. Play True Or False 

This is a fun game to practice the use of the verb To Be along with general knowledge. Keep some GK facts ready, and write them down in simple present tense. You can change the details in a few of these facts. Now, ask your child to guess whether the statements are true or false. Eg. Mumbai is the capital of India- (False). The Sun is a star. (True). Keep the facts simple for teaching the verb to be for kindergarten students.  

Introduce your child to this list of to be verb forms, examples of how to use them un sentences and conduct the suggested activities for teaching verb ‘to be’ in a fun way. This will ensure that whenever your child has to use the verb to be in the future, they will be confident about their knowledge of the grammatical rules that apply.

Also Read:

Verb ‘To Have’ for Kids
Modal Verb ‘Can’ for Children
Modal Verbs for Kids with Types and Examples

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