Be as a Linking Verb

Forms of the verb be:
  be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being

Linking verbs (or copulative verbs), connect a subject with a predicate noun or predicate adjective. They help identify or describe the subject.

Be is the most common linking verb (other linking verbs include seem, become, feel, taste, look, smell, sound, and turn).

As a linking verb, be has the following form:

(+): Subject + be + noun/adjective.
(—): Subject + be not + noun/adjective.

Be takes on different conjugations (forms) depending on the person and tense.


Was as a Linking Verb in Positive Sentences

Was is the 1st and 3rd person singular, past indicative of be. When used as a linking verb, was has the following structure in positive sentences.

Noah/My grandmother/Flint + was + noun/adjective.
Queen Semiramis/Babylon

• I was vice-president of our school comic book club.
• Her uncle was slim when he was young.
• Mrs. Molina was in Singapore last year for the physics teaching conference.

Was in Negative Sentences

Methuselah/Your tie+ was + not/never + noun/adjective.
Her ring/King Midas

• I wasn’t feeling well on that day, so I wasn’t able to attend the meeting.
• Your aunt wasn’t at home. Only your cousin was there.
• Buck was never in the army despite all his military talk.

Respond to the following sentences.

Say it’s true, or it’s false/not true, yes or no, yes and no, I agree, I disagree, maybe, sometimes, it depends, in the middle, mostly, in a way.

Make any necessary “corrections” or changes. Say why and give examples.

1. My friend was in the army. I was in the boy scouts or girl scouts. My grandfather (or father, uncle, friend, mother, sister) was in the army.

2. 1999 was a very worrying year. Everyone was scared in 2012.

3. The 1950’s was the Golden Age. Music from the 1980s was the BEST!

4. Sweden was once a poor country.

5. Life in my grandparents’ time (generation) was very boring.

6. Traveling by train was very popular.

7. Life before personal computers and the internet was very harsh.

8. Autism was less common among children a generation ago. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was less prevalent several decades ago.

9. Sex was once a strictly taboo subject; today isn’t anymore.

10. Authority was quite firm and rigid before the 1960s.

11. In the old days, conformity was strong: everyone wore the same fashions, had the same hairstyle and behaved similarly.

12. Christmas wasn’t so commercialized in the past. There was a greater Christmas spirit.


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