DESCRIPTION: This lesson is aimed to explain the use of simple present tense especially copula verbs, am, is, are including how to form negative and interrogative sentences.


Key Points

In this lesson, students will learn how to use copula verbs in the simple present tense by writing down their daily activities or general truth around them. English sentences have to have verbs, unlike in Bahasa Indonesia. The verb that functions as a connector (link) between the subject and its complement is named copula verb. In this lesson, we are going to discuss how to use am, is, and are, as copula verbs.
~ I am a kind person.
~ Alo is an endemic bird to Central Sulawesi Province.
~ Kaledo is a typical food from Palu.
~ Palu, Kendari, Makassar and Manado are capital cities of provinces in Sulawesi.
~ Dero and Lulo are traditional dances from an island next to Kalimantan.

Simple Present Tense with is, am, and are

In the previous lesson, you learned that we use the simple present tense to express habitual actions or routines and general truth. Now, we will learn about how to form sentences in simple present tense using copula verbs. Am, is, and are, have a special function as linking verbs, part of the verb be. When we use personal pronouns, there are separate personal pronouns to use with these linking verbs respectively that will form three pairs. These pairs must always stay together. What does it mean? Let’s go on to the following table.

Copula Verbs (to be)SubjectsType of Subject
1. AmIπŸ‘‰ singular, the first person
(the first, because it is the person speaking)
2. IsHe, She, ItπŸ‘‰ singular, the third persons
(the third, because they do not speak directly to I)
3. AreYou, We, They~ You πŸ‘‰ singular and plural, the second person(s) (people directly talking to I)
~ We πŸ‘‰ plural, the first person
~ They πŸ‘‰ plural, the third person
Copula Verbs ( To be)

Those three pairs must never be changed. Please have a look at the following examples in the table. The correct examples show the right ways to use is, am, and are. The incorrect examples show wrong ways in using is, am, and are. Read and learn carefully.

Correct ExamplesIncorrect Examples
I am an English-Indonesian translator.* I is an English-Indonesian translator.
* I are an English-Indonesian translator.
My husband is Simon.* My husband am Simon.
* My husband are Simon.
Earth, Pluto, Venus, Mars are planets in the universe.*Earth, Pluto, Venus, Mars am planets in the universe.
*Earth, Pluto, Venus, Mars is planets in the universe.

Negative (-) and Interrogative (?) Sentences

β€’ To make a negative sentence, we add not, AFTER the be form (is not; am not, are not).
Example: She is not obedient.
β€’ Then, the be form moves to the beginning of the sentence when we want to make an interrogative sentence.
Example: Is she obedient?

“Am, is, and are” are usually known as to be or be. In the simple present tense, they are copula verbs that are used to express:
– general truth
– something that is true in the current situation

Let’s continue to the table. Here, you will learn how to create negative and interrogative sentences.

Pronouns Examples & Forms

II am a student.I am not a student.Am I a student?
You, We, They (You/We/They) are brilliant.(You, We, They) are not brilliant.Are (You, We, They) brilliant?
He, She, It(He/She/It) is obedient.(He/She/It) is not obedient.Is (He/She/It) obedient?

As you can see, it is rather similar to the previous lesson about the ways to form negative and interrogative sentences. However, it is simpler here.