Verb “To Be”: Grammar and Exercises

We use the verb “to be” to talk about ourselves and our nationality. This page has grammar explanations and exercises about the verb “to be”, and vocabulary to talk about nationalities.

The verb “to be”

I am
You are
He / She / It is
We are
They are


We use “you” for one person or for more than one person.
We use “you” in formal and informal situations.

For example:

How are you? (I’m talking to my sister.)
How are you? (I’m talking to my sister and my brother.)
How are you? (I’m talking to my friend.)
How are you? (I’m talking to a customer.)


I am not (I’m not)
You are not (You aren’t)
He is not (He isn’t)
She is not (She isn’t)
We are not (We aren’t)
They are not (They aren’t)

Question form

Am I ….?
Are you ….?
Is he / she / it …?
Are we ….?
Are they …?

Short answers

Yes, I am / No I’m not
Yes, you are / No you aren’t
Yes, he, she, it is / No he, she, it isn’t
Yes, we are / No we aren’t
Yes, they are / No they aren’t

In the past

I was (wasn’t = negative)
You were (weren’t = negative)
He was (wasn’t)
We were (weren’t)
They were (weren’t)

Was I…? Were you …? etc

There is / There are

We also use the verb “to be” to talk about what exists. We use “there is” (singular) and “there are” (plural) for this. For example:

“There’s a good film on TV tonight.”

“There are some people in the shop.”

For more information about how to use there is / there are, see this page.

Verb “to be”

Choose the correct answer.


We use the verb “to be” to talk about nationalities

“I am English.” (from England)
“He is French.” (from France)

“ish”, “ian”, “an”, “ese” are all common nationality endings.

If you can’t remember the nationality word, you can say “I’m from….” (and say the name of your country.)

Here are some common countries and nationalities of people who visit the english-at-home website.

Britain – British
Ireland – Irish
France – French
Italy – Italian
Spain – Spanish
Portugal – Portuguese
Greece – Greek
Cyprus – Cypriot
Malta – Maltese
Albania – Albanian
Serbia – Serbian
Croatia – Croatian
Bosnia – Bosnian
Germany – German
Austria – Austrian
Hungary – Hungarian
Switzerland – Swiss
Belgium – Belgian
Netherlands – Dutch
Sweden – Swedish
Finland – Finnish
Norway – Norwegian
Denmark – Danish
Lithuania – Lithuanian
Latvia – Latvian
Estonia – Estonian
Russia – Russian
Georgia – Georgian
Belarus – Belarusian
Poland – Polish
Czech Republic – Czech
Slovakia – Slovakian
Ukraine – Ukrainian
Romania – Romanian
Moldova – Moldovan
Bulgaria – Bulgarian
Turkey – Turkish
Middle East / The Gulf
Israel – Israeli
Palestine – Palestinian
Jordan – Jordanian
Lebanon – Lebanese
Syria – Syrian
Iran – Iranian
Iraq – Iraqi
Kuwait – Kuwaiti
Saudi Arabia – Saudi
Bahrain – Bahraini
Qatar – Qatari
Oman – Omani
Yemen – Yemeni
China – Chinese
Taiwan – Taiwanese
Kazakhstan – Kazakh
Uzbekistan – Uzbek
Mongolia – Mongolian
Korea – Korean
Japan – Japanese
India – Indian
Nepal – Nepalese
Tibet – Tibetan
Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan
Pakistan – Pakistani
Afghanistan – Afghan
Bangladesh – Bangladeshi
Vietnam – Vietnamese
Laos – Lao
Cambodia – Cambodian
Burma – Burmese
Thailand – Thai
Malaysia – Malaysian
Indonesia – Indonesian
Singapore – Singaporean
Philippines – Filipino
United States – American
Canada – Canadian
Mexico – Mexican
El Salvador – Salvadorean
Costa Rica – Costa Rican
Nicaragua – Nicaraguan
Argentina – Argentinian
Brazil – Brazilian
Chile – Chilean
Ecuador – Ecuadorian
Peru – Peruvian
Bolivia – Bolivian
Colombia – Colombian
Uruguay – Uruguayan
Venezuela – Venezuelan
Egypt – Egyptian
Algeria – Algerian
Tunisia – Tunisian
Morocco – Moroccan
Libya – Libyan
Sudan – Sudanese
Ethiopia – Ethiopian
Kenya – Kenyan
Uganda – Ugandan
Nigeria – Nigerian
South Africa – South African
Australia – Australian
New Zealand – a New Zealander