To Be + Adjective

An adjective is a word that gives us a description about something or someone.

  • John is old.

Old is an adjective. Old is a description of John.

With an adjective, we frequently use TO BE. The order is:

To be + adjective

  • John is old.


Some examples of To be + adjective:

  • I am tired.
  • You are nervous.
  • He is tall.
  • She is happy.
  • It is round.
  • We are cold.
  • You are hot.
  • They are angry.


  • John is old.

What is the opposite of old?

To make a negative sentence we use TO BE + NOT + ADJECTIVE

  • John is not young.

Our examples from before … now in negative form.

  • I am not tired.
  • You are not nervous.

Remember you can make a contraction of are not … which becomes aren’t and is not which becomes isn’t

  • You are not nervous. OR
  • you aren’t nervous.

The rest of the examples:

  • He is not tall.
  • She is not happy.
  • It is not round.
  • We are not cold
  • You are not hot.
  • They are not angry.

So, the negative sentence is: TO BE + NOT + ADJECTIVE.

Let’s look at negative sentences using opposites.

  • I am not sad. I am happy.
  • Flowers aren’t ugly. They are beautiful.
  • Ice cream isn’t hot. It is cold.
  • Lemons aren’t sweet. They are sour.
  • This exercise isn’t difficult. It is easy.
  • A piano isn’t light. It is heavy.
  • Elephants aren’t small. They are big.
  • My shoes aren’t clean. They are dirty.


We can also make questions with To Be and an adjective.

  • He is happy. (This is an affirmative sentence)

To make a question we change the order of To Be…

Instead of he is… it becomes Is he….?

  • Is he happy?

And then you can give a short answer:

Yes, he is. OR No, he isn’t.

Another example:

  • She is nervous.

To make this a question, it becomes…

  • Is she nervous?

And then you can give a short answer:
Yes, she is. OR No, she isn’t.

Another example:

  • They are confused.

To make this a question, it becomes…

  • Are they confused?

And then you can give a short answer:
Yes, they are. OR No, they aren’t.


Exercise 1
Complete these sentences using: is, isn’t, are, or aren’t.
(The answers appear in our video.)

  • 1. The Earth _____ round.
  • 2. Diamonds _____ cheap.
  • 3. Pillows _____ soft.
  • 4. A balloon _____ heavy.
  • 5. Turtles _____ slow.
  • 6. Chocolate _____ sweet.
  • 7. A rose _____ ugly.
  • 8. Bananas _____ blue.

Exercise 2
Now write the opposite of each sentence. Use TO BE + Adjective.
For example: 1. The Earth is round. The Earth isn’t square.

Exercise 3
Describe your city…

  • Is your city large or small?
  • Is your city old or modern?
  • Is your city clean or dirty?
  • Is your city dangerous or safe?
  • Is your city boring or interesting?
  • Tell us more about your city.

To Be + Adjective – Summary Chart

To Be + Adjective in English - Positive sentences, Negative sentences, and Questions using To Be with adjectives.

Next activity

Try our English Quiz about To Be + Adjective.

Lesson tags: Adjectives, Present Tense, To Be, Vocabulary, Word Order
Back to: English Course > Descriptions in English

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