Grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuous Tense (3)

You have learned that "is" (or more generally, the verb "to be") usually functions as a linking verb that is roughly equivalent to an an = sign.

The baby is a boy.

S=C

The meaning of this sentence is:

  • The baby = boy.

The baby is happy.

S=C

The meaning of this sentence is:

  • The baby = happy

 

You have also learned that, occassionaly, the verb "is" (or more generally, the verb "to be") functions as a helping word—a word that helps to form the continuous tense of a verb.

The baby is crying.

SV

In this sentence, we are NOT saying that the baby "equals" crying.

Rather, in this sentence, "is crying" is the continuous tense of the verb "to cry". It means that the baby is still crying at this moment.

 

At first glance, these two sentences might appear to be nearly the same.

Upon closer analysis, however, we see that the patterns are different.

The baby is a boy

equative (S=C)

The baby is crying.

intrasitive (SV)

 

When analyzing such sentences, start by using your common sense. Does the baby = crying? Or is the baby performing an action that is continuing at this moment?

If you're still confused, look at the verb that follows the "to be" verb. Does it end in -ing? If it does, then chances are good that in this particular sentence, the "to be" word is a helping word—it is helping the -ing verb (present participle) to form the continuous tense of the verb.

Instructions for the Quiz

Identify the function of the underlined word. (The underlined word will always be some form of the verb "to be").

Examples

John is sad.

  • linking verb (=)
  • helping word

 

Answer = A

The meaning of this sentence is "John = sad."

The "is" in this sentence functions as a linking verb.

John is eating.

  • linking verb (=)
  • helping word

Answer = B

The meaning of this sentence is "John continues to eat at this moment".

The "is" in this sentence functions as a helping word. We can verify this by looking at the word that follows "is". Sure enough, it's an -ing verb. That's a pretty strong indicator that we're looking at a two-part verb: "is eating".

 

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.

Quiz