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(a) John is a student.


(b) John is intelligent.

(BE) (ADJ)

(c) John was at the library.


A sentence with be as the main verb has three basic patterns: In (a): be + a noun

In (b): be + an adjective

In (c): be + a prepositional phrase

(d) Mary is writing a letter.

(e) They were listening to some music. (f) That letter was written by Alice.

Be is also used as an auxiliary verb in progressive verb tenses and in the passive.

In (d): is = auxiliary; writing = main verb




I was

you were

he, she, it was


I have been

you have been he, she, it has been


I am

you are he, she, it is


we,you, they are

we, you, they have been

we, you, they were


(a) The soup

Other verbs like be that may be followed immediately by an adjective are called "linking verbs." An adjective following a linking verb describes the subject of a sentence. *

Common verbs that may be followed by an adjective:

. feel, look, smell, sound, taste

. appear, seem

. become (and get, turn, grow when they mean "become")

smells good.

(LINKING VERB) (ADJECTIVE) (b) This food tastes delicious.

(c) The children feel happy.

(d) The weather became cold.


(1) The man looks angry. -+ An adjective (angry) follows look. The adjective describes the subject (the man). Look has

the meaning of "appear."

(2) The man looked at me angrily. -+ An adverb (angrily) follows look at. The adverb describes the action of the verb.

Look at has the meaning of "regard, watch."

D EXERCISE 8. Linking verbs. (Charts A-3 --+ A-6)

Directions: Choose the correct adjective or adverb in parentheses.

1. This math problem looks (easy, easily). I'm sure I can do it (easy, easily).

2. That chair looks (comfortable, comfortably).

3. I looked at the problem (careful, carefully) and then solved it.

4. I felt (sad, sadly) when I heard the news.

5. Susan smiled (cheerful, cheerfully). She seemed (cheerful, cheerfully).

6. I tasted the soup (careful, carefully) because it was hot. The soup tasted (good, welD. 7. The room got (quiet, quietly) when the professor entered. The students sat

(quiet, quietly) at their desks.

8. The sky grew (dark, darkly) as the storm approached.



7. Whales do not have vocal chords, but they can communicate with each other. They have a wide range of clicks, whistles, and songs. When a w~le is captured in a net,

other whales gather around it and communicate through the net. They follow the

- .,---/

captured whale for long distances.




A yes/no question = a question that may be answered by yes or no.

A: Does he live in Chicago?

B: Yes, he does. OR No, he doesn't.

An information question = a question that asks for information by using a question word.

A: Where does he live?

B: In Chicago.

Question word order = (Question word) + helping verb + subject + main verb

Notice that the same subject-verb order is used in both yes/no and information questions.



(a) Does she live there? If the verb is in the simple present, use does

(b) Where does she live? (with he, she, it) or do (with I, you, we, they) in

(c) Do they live there? the question. If the verb is simple past, use did.

(d) Where do they live? Notice: The main verb in the question is in its

(e) Did he live there? simple form; there is no final -s or -ed.

( f ) Where did he live?

(g) Is he living there? If the verb has an auxiliary (a helping verb),

(h) Where is he living? the same auxiliary is used in the question.

( i) Have they lived there? There is no change in the form of the main

( j ) Where have they lived? verb. If the verb has more than one auxiliary,

only the first auxiliary precedes the subject, as

(k) Can Mary live there? in (m) nd (n).

( 1 ) Where can Mary live?

(m) Will he be living there?

(n) Where will he be living?

( 0 ) Who 0 0 lives there? If the question word is the subject, usual

(p) Who can 0 come? question word order is not used; does, do, and

did are not used. The verb is in the same

form in a question as it is in a statement.

Statement: Tom came.

Question: W'ho came?

(q) Are they 0 there? Main verb be in the simple present (am, is,

( r ) Where are they? 0 are) and simple past (was, were) precedes the

(s) Was Jim 0 there? subject. It has the same position as a helping

( t ) Where was Jim? 0 verb.


D EXERCISE 10. Forms of yes/no and information questions. (Chart B-1) Directions: For each of the following, first make a yes/no question. Then make an information question using where.

Example: They can stay there.

l7es/no question: Can they stay there?

Information question: Where can they stay?

1. She stays there.

2. She is staying there.

3. She will stay there.

4. She is going to stay there.

5. They stayed there.

6. They will be staying there.

7. They should stay there.

8. He has stayed there.

9. He has been staying there.

10. John is there.

11. John will be there.

12. John has been there.

13. Judy will have been there.

14. Ann and Tom were married there.

~5. This package should have been taken there.



WHEN (a) When did they arrive? Yesterday. Ulhen is used to ask questions

Ulhen will you come? Next Monday. about time.

WHERE (b) Ulhere is she? At home. Where is used to ask questions

Ulhere can I find a pen? In that drawer. about place.

WHY (c) Why did he leave early? Because he's ill. Why is used to ask questions

Ulhy aren't you coming with us? I'm tired. about reason.

HOW (d) How did you come to school? By bus. How generally asks about manner.

How does he drive? Carefully.

(e) How much money does it cost? Ten dollars. How is used with much and

How many people came? Fifteen. many.

(f) How old are you? Twelve. How is also used with adjectives

How cold is it? Ten below zero. and adverbs.

How soon can you get here? In ten minutes.

How fast were you driving? 50 miles an hour.

(g) How long has he been here? Two years. How long asks about length of time.

How often do you write home? Every week. How often asks about frequency.

How far is it to Miami from here? 500 miles. How far asks about distance.

Supplementary Grammar Units A9