09 Mar Is the Word “is” a Verb?
Lately, I have received a number of questions about the word is. Is is a verb? Is it a preposition? Is it a noun? What exactly is its function in a clause?
Some words in English are so common that we might even forget which part of speech they are. “Is” is one of these words that is hard to label.
Believe it or not, “is” is a verb, but it can easily be mistaken for another part of speech in that it doesn’t follow the same rules as many other verbs. Read on for a deeper look into the function of the word “is in the English sentence.”
What Type of Verb is “is”?
The verb “is” is a form of the verb “to be” and is known as a linking verb or copula. Linking verbs do not show action but rather link the subject of the sentence to a predicate or subject complement that renames or describes it.
In the sentence “She is happy,” “is” links the subject “she” to the predicate “happy.” Other examples of linking verbs include “am,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “become,” “seem,” and “appear.”
Functions of the Verb “is” in the English Sentence
The verb “is” is a fundamental part of English grammar and is used in a variety of ways in sentences. Here are some of the main functions of the verb “is”:
As mentioned earlier, “is” is a linking verb that connects the subject of the sentence to a predicate or subject complement that renames or describes it.
For example, in the sentence “John is tall,” “is” links the subject “John” to the predicate “tall.”
“Is” can also function as an auxiliary verb in the present tense to form the progressive aspect of a verb.
For example, in the sentence “She is reading a book,” “is” is an auxiliary verb that helps form the present progressive tense of the verb “reading.”
Verb of Existence
In some cases, “is” can be used as a verb of existence to indicate that something exists or is present.
For example, in the sentence “There is a dog in the park,” “is” is used to indicate the presence of the dog in the park.
Auxiliary Verb for Passive Voice
“Is” is also used as an auxiliary verb in the passive voice to indicate that the subject is receiving the action of the verb.
For example, in the sentence “The cake is being baked,” “is” is an auxiliary verb that helps form the passive voice of the verb “baked.”
“Is” can also be used as a modal auxiliary to express possibility or permission in a sentence.
For example, in the sentence “You can do whatever you want, as long as it is legal,” “is” is used as a modal auxiliary to express permission.
In some cases, “is” can be used as an emphatic verb to add emphasis to a sentence.
For example, in the sentence “It is John who is responsible for the project,” “is” is used as an emphatic verb to emphasize the subject “John.”
In summary, the verb “is” has multiple functions in English sentences, including as a linking verb, auxiliary verb, verb of existence, auxiliary verb for passive voice, modal auxiliary, and emphatic verb.
Understanding the different functions of “is” can help you better understand the structure and meaning of English sentences.