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.
- (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
- (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
- (subject)+(be verb)+(subject complement [noun phrase])
Subject Be Subject complement [NP] The children Were Angels The meeting Will be A success
Identify the subject and be verb of each sentence—as well as the adverbial, subject complement [adj.], or subject complement [noun phrase].
- My neighbor is uncommonly thrifty.
- The Oldsmobile was on its last legs
- Celia is the CEO of a large multinational corporation.
- The last performance of Death of a Salesman was on Friday.
- The plumber will be here soon.