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12.2: To Be

  • Page ID
    6535
  • When a form of be (am, is, are, was, were) serves as the main verb of a sentence, an adverbial of time or place, an adjectival, or a noun phrase will follow it. The following are the three sentence patterns that occur with the be verb:

    For definitions and examples of the adverb, adjective, and noun phrase, see Chapter 11.

    1. (subject)+(be verb)+(adverbial of time or place)
      Subject Be Adverbial of time or place
      The children Were Upstairs
      The meeting Is Tomorrow
      The nutmeg Is On the shelf
      Prepositional phrases often take the form of adverbials, as seen in the third example. For a definition and examples of prepositional phrases, see Chapter 12, Lesson 2.
    2. (subject)+(be verb)+(subject complement [adjective])
      Subject Be Subject complement [adj.]
      The children Were Excited
      The meeting Is Boring
      Jacob Is In a bad mood
      Sometimes a prepositional phrase, in the form of an idiomatic expression, will fill the role of subject complement, as seen in the third example
    3. (subject)+(be verb)+(subject complement [noun phrase])
      Subject Be Subject complement [NP]
      The children Were Angels
      The meeting Will be A success

    Review Questions

    Identify the subject and be verb of each sentence—as well as the adverbial, subject complement [adj.], or subject complement [noun phrase].

    1. My neighbor is uncommonly thrifty.
    2. The Oldsmobile was on its last legs
    3. Celia is the CEO of a large multinational corporation.
    4. The last performance of Death of a Salesman was on Friday.
    5. The plumber will be here soon.
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