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The Verb “to be” for Kids

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Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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Verbs hold a very important part in communication, especially in English. They are those words that are responsible for expressing actions. Some of the common examples of verbs that describe an action of a subject speak, jump, run etc. Among all the other verbs that are present, the phrase that is most commonly used in the English language is the verb "to be".

Initially learning a verb, especially a verb to be, seems to be difficult for children. The concept of verbs might be a little difficult for some kids to understand but through constant repetition using different exercises and activities learning becomes easy and fun. As the verb to be is used very frequently and for a lot of other different purposes, it is very important for the kids to learn this particular verb.

Illustration of “to be” Verb


Illustration of “to be” Verb

How to Use the “to be” Verb

The "To be" verb is basically used to describe someone or something. In English, it can be used to express different things which are in accordance with the context. The most common use of the verb "to be" is to talk about nationality, names, age, feelings and professions, especially when talking in the present tense.

The most tricky part of this verb is that it is one of the most irregular verbs that is used in the English language. Unlike many of the verbs which barely change when used for different subjects either for different tenses and when they do change the following definite pattern but to be verb completely changes in most of its forms.


Forms of “to be”

The to be verb is written according to the tense of the verb whether it is past tense, future tense or even in mixed tenses since this word is highly regular in nature. They also vary with the subject. Let's see which form the verb takes when used next to the subject.


Base form: Be

This is one of the most basic forms of the verb that we can find in the dictionary. It is mostly used when using imperatives and also as infinitives. Some of the examples are:

  • Be nice to everyone. (imperative)

  • I like to be at home. (infinitive)


Present form

Here “to be” is mainly used for simple present and its form and meaning can change depending on its use of it in the context. The present form of the “to be” verb can be shortened when used in the simple present form.

So here is the entire table of to be for all the subjects in both long and short forms for negative as well as affirmative sentences:

Pronoun

Affirmative

Negative

I am - I’m

I am not - I’m not

You 

You are - You're

You are not - You’re not

He 

He is - He’s

He is not - He’s not

She 

She is - She’s

She is not- She’s not

It 

It is - It’s 

It is not- It’s not

We 

We are - We’re

We are not- We’re not

They 

They are - They’re

They are not - They’re not

You 

You are - You’re

You are not - You’re not


Few of the examples of these sentences with the “to be” verb:

  • She is Naina.

  • He is 12 years of age.

  • Naina is very happy today.

  • We are not from Australia.

  • You are not a singer, you are a painter. 


Illustration of to be verb in the present


Illustration of "to be" Verb in the Present


Past: Was/Were

When we are talking about the past tense, the “to be” verb changes its form again. There is a table of how it appears with the different subject pronouns.

Pronoun

Affirmative

Negative

I was

I was not - I wasn’t

You 

You were

You were not - You weren’t

He 

He was

He was not -  He wasn’t

She 

She was

She was not - She wasn’t

It 

It was 

It was not - It wasn't

We 

We were

We were not - We weren’t

They 

They were

They were not - They weren’t

You 

You were

You were not - You weren’t


Few of the examples of these sentences with the “to be” verb:

  • I was at home yesterday.

  • You were 12 years old last year.

  • Naina and Raju were students, now they are engineers.

  • It was cloudy a while ago.  


Past Participle: Been

This is the form of the “to be” verb used with the perfect and passive tenses, and it is the same for all the subjects. It is also used in the form of adjectives sometimes.

  1. I have been busy all day.

  2. Sita and Geeta have been studying for an hour.

  3. He has been teaching for a year now. 


Continuous: Being

To make a continuous tense this continuous form of the verb is used in English. It is the same for all the subjects just like the past participle.

  1. Rani is being Helpful


Passive Form

In both present and past forms of the verb ‘to be’ can be used to make passive sentences.

  1. His house was built in the mountains

  2. The program is being recorded right now.


Conclusion

To conclude, verbs are an integral part of a sentence. Proper usage of verbs helps us to understand the sentence structure. It builds a strong foundation in the process of writing and speaking English. The ‘to be’ verb helps students to learn the basics of verb and their usage. 


We hope this article is useful for the kids. To read more such informative articles, visit our website.

FAQs on The Verb “to be” for Kids

1. How do you explain the verb “to be”?

Are, am, is, was, were, been and being are all to be verbs. They are basically used to describe the condition of the people, things, places and ideas to us. For instance, they could tell us the nationality of the subject of the job or other traits of the subject including the age of the subject.

2. What kind of verb is be?

It is considered as an irregular verb because the past simple and the past participle of this verb do not end in “ed”.