Use of IS, AM, ARE in English

IS, AM & ARE are the most used verbs (helping and main) in English. In this post, we will learn how to use is, am, are in English.

Different use of IS, AM, ARE

IS, AM & ARE are verbs that we use in the present tense in four different situations.

1. To describe a person or a thing in the present
2. To name/rename a person or a thing in the present
3. To say what someone is doing right now
4. To talk about what is done in the present

Before we look at these situations separately, let’s look at the nouns or pronouns we use with is, am, & are.

  • IS = he, she, it & all singular noun names (singular subject)
  • ARE = we, you, they & all plural noun names (plural subject)
  • AM = only used with ‘I’

Singular countable nouns: Rahul, Ashish, Jyoti, doctor, singer, mother, car, bus, table, etc.
Plural noun names: students, parents, teachers, sisters, brothers, cars, buses, tables, etc.

Use of is am are in English
Use of is am are in English

1. To describe a person or a thing in the present

If you want to describe a person or a thing in the present, use is, am, are according to the subject and describe how the subject is.

Structure: Subject + is/am/are + adjective

Examples of “AM”

  • I am smart.
  • I am very hardworking.
  • I am happy.
  • I am extremely sad.
  • I am focused.
  • I am sorry.

Note: words colored ‘red’ are adjectives or adjective phrases.

TIP: you can also use an adjective complement after the adjective too. It gives information about the adjective it complements.

  • I am happy for your promotion.
  • I am sad to see this.
  • I am focused for the match.
  • I am sorry for your loss.

Examples of “IS”

  • She is beautiful.
  • He is talented.
  • Jyoti is extremely talented in painting.
  • My father is funny.
  • That house is huge.
  • Her dog is very tiny.
  • It is wonderful to watch.
  • The weather is pleasant today.

Examples of “ARE”

  • You are amazing.
  • They are coward.
  • We are not scared.
  • Our teachers are polite to us.
  • His parents are sweet.
  • These boys are notorious.
  • You are so sweet.
  • They are mean to everyone.

NOTE: This is the first usage of is, am, are where we describe the subject in the present using an adjective or adjective phrase just after IS/AM/ARE.

2. To name/rename a person or a thing in the present

The second use of is, am, are is to rename a noun or a pronoun (subject) in the present. Here, we use a noun or noun phrase after is/am/are and give a name to the subject.

Structure: Subject + is/am/are + noun

Examples of ‘is/are/are’:

  • I am a teacher.
  • You are my best friend.
  • Jyoti is an artist.
  • I am an English teacher.
  • We are students.
  • They are my cousins.
  • He is a good friend of mine.
  • She is my girlfriend.
  • It is a great movie.
  • Monu is an amazing friend.
  • My parents are teachers.
  • These guys are social workers.
  • Rahul is a dancer.
  • Jon is an MMA fighter.

Notice that we are using a noun or a noun phrase after is/are/are and giving a name to the subject in the present.

3. To say what someone is doing right now

The third use of ‘is, am, are‘ is to use them in the Present Continuous tense to talk about an action that is happening in the present. In the first two usages, these verbs work as a linking verb (main verb), and here, they work as an auxiliary verb (helping verb).

Structure: Subject + is/am/are + V1+ing

Examples of ‘is/am/are’:

  • I am talking to you.
  • You are reading this post.
  • We are working on a project.
  • They are mocking you.
  • She is living with me.
  • He is playing outside.
  • It is not working properly.
  • Jyoti is painting a stone in her room.
  • Archit is talking to his mother.
  • My parents are watching T.V.
  • Some kids are playing outside.

Note: we also use is/am/are to talk about something that is going to happen in near future; that is already planned.

  • We are going on a vacation soon.
  • They are coming tomorrow.
  • Shruti is taking the online class next week.

4. To talk about what is done in the present

The last use of ‘is, am are’ is to talk about what is done in the present. Here, the sentence are in the Present Indefinite tense passive voice.

Structure: Subject + is/am/are + V3 + (by the doer)

So, here are the four uses of is, am & are. Try the practice questions below to check your understanding of the topic.

Examples:

  • The company pays him on time. (Present Indefinite tense, active voice)
  • He is paid on time (by the company). (Present Indefinite tense, passive voice)
  • Everyone appreciates me for my work. (Present Indefinite tense, active voice)
  • I am appreciated for my work. (Present Indefinite tense, passive voice)
  • We train the students really well. (Present Indefinite tense, active voice)
  • The students are trained really well. (Present Indefinite tense, passive voice)

Note that in the passive voice, the focus is on the receiver of the action; the agent is not important and is generally not mentioned in the sentence.

More examples:

  • They are not loved.
  • She is ignored by her friends.
  • My videos are watched by millions of people.
  • Jon is considered the best MMA fighter.

Fill in the blanks using ‘is/am/are.’

  1. We __ ready for the match.
  2. She __ not giving up.
  3. I __ a dancer.
  4. They __ great friends.
  5. Everyone __ waiting for you.
  6. Nothing __ possible without dedication.
  7. Jamie __ thinking about marrying you.
  8. My parents __ not going anywhere.
  9. India __ a beautiful country.
  10. Most people __ mentally weak.
  11. Everything __ possible to achieve.
  12. Something __ bothering us.
  13. Someone __ waiting for you at the stop.
  14. We __ pumped up.
  15. I __ writing a post.

Answers:-

  1. are
  2. is
  3. am
  4. are
  5. is
  6. is
  7. is
  8. are
  9. is
  10. are
  11. is
  12. is
  13. is
  14. are
  15. am

NOTE: when referring to the present, always use ‘IS’ with the following indefinite pronouns:

someone, somebody, anyone, anybody, everyone, everybody, no one, nobody, something, anything, everything, nothing, somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, nowhere


2 thoughts on “Use of IS, AM, ARE in English”

  1. This is a very common topic , but we, sometimes, get confused. Thank you for describing things simply; you made it really easy to understand. ❤

    Reply

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