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  1. #1
    Jennifer Nevsky is offline Junior Member
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    Default State of being verb

    I am teaching the state of being verb to ninth graders. I myself am growing confusing. The grammar book says when the verb to be is used in a sentence saying when or where about the subject it is a state of being verb as opposed to a linking verb. I cannot think of an example of a state of being usage which answers the question when. Can you clarify the usage of the state of being verb. I understand how to be is used as a linking erb and a helping verb. I am unclear about its usage as a state of being verb. Some examples and explanation would help.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    How about: "The party is Tuesday".

  3. #3
    TheParser is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Nevsky View Post
    I am teaching the state of being verb to ninth graders. I myself am growing confusing. The grammar book says when the verb to be is used in a sentence saying when or where about the subject it is a state of being verb as opposed to a linking verb. I cannot think of an example of a state of being usage which answers the question when. Can you clarify the usage of the state of being verb. I understand how to be is used as a linking erb and a helping verb. I am unclear about its usage as a state of being verb. Some examples and explanation would help.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I am sure that some of the great teachers here will answer your

    question.

    (2) I just wanted to most respectfully point out a possible

    "mistake" in your post.

    (a) You say: "I myself am growing confusing." I believe that means

    that you are confusing your students.

    (b) I think that you wanted to say:

    "I myself am growing/becoming confused." That is, the matter is

    confusing me more and more, too.

    *****

    Another example that can be embarrassing:

    I am bored. = Things make me tired.

    I am boring. = I make other people feel tired!!!

    (Only a very honest person would admit to being "boring.")


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

  4. #4
    TheParser is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Nevsky View Post
    I am teaching the state of being verb to ninth graders. I myself am growing confusing. The grammar book says when the verb to be is used in a sentence saying when or where about the subject it is a state of being verb as opposed to a linking verb. I cannot think of an example of a state of being usage which answers the question when. Can you clarify the usage of the state of being verb. I understand how to be is used as a linking erb and a helping verb. I am unclear about its usage as a state of being verb. Some examples and explanation would help.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) I found these examples in my grammar books. In these sentences,

    be is not a copula (linking verb). It is a full verb (showing some kind of

    existence. For example: Shakespeare's famous "to be or not to be").

    (2) Duncan is in his grave. (Where is Duncan?)

    There was some confusion later. (When was there some confusion?)

    Your guests are in the living room. (Where are your guests?)

    The teacher is in his office. (Where is the teacher?)

    The play is next Wednesday. (When is the play?)

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    I am afraid that this won't help you much, but it's one view.

    Quirk et al* consider BE to be a copular (or linking) verb, and make no mention of 'state of being' verbs.
    Their first example of BE as a copular verb is: I have been in the garden - which is clearly 'a sentence saying where about the subject'.
    A later example falls in the 'when' category: The party will be at nine.

    So, for these heavyweight writers on grammar, that's it: BE is a copular (linking) verb full stop (or period)

    * Quirk R, Greenbaum S, Leech G & Svartik J (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language,
    London: Longman

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    I have been doing a quick hunt round the internet since my last post. It seems that 'state of being verb' is a very common term in the American school system. It also seems (from a very superficial look) that the teaching materials I found regard the terms 'state of being verb' and 'linking' verb as synonymous.

    I had actually wondered this myself but, as I was not familiar with the idea of 'state of being' verb being contrasted with 'linking' verbs, I wondered if I had missed something. Now it seems that it is possible that you may have missed something. Is it possible that the materials you are using are in fact asking you to contrast 'state of being verbs' aka 'linking verbs' with 'action verbs'?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    This definition State-of-Being Verbs Verbs suggests that it is simply the verb be both as an auxiliary and as a copular verb. It's a suspect term to me.

  8. #8
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: State of being verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Nevsky View Post
    The grammar book says when the verb "to be" is used in a sentence saying when or where about the subject it is a state of being verb as opposed to a linking verb.
    Yes, it's confusing, but I get it, and I'll explain it to you.


    The book you're using divides the verb "To Be" into two categories:

    (i) Linking Verb

    "To Be" is called a linking verb when it is followed by a subject complement:


    • Max is a girl. <predicate noun>
    • Max is tall. <predicate adjective>

    Subject complements are of two types: nouns and adjectives. Notice that prepositions and adverbs, words that introduce phrases that answer the questions "Where?" and "When?", do not fit into the above category. So, ...



    (ii) State-of-Being Verb

    "To Be" is called a state-of-being verb when it is followed by a preposition or an adverb:


    • Max is in the house. / Where is Max?
      • grammatical form: prepositional phrase
      • grammatical function: adverb



    • Max's party is today. / When is the party?
      • grammatical form: adverb
      • grammatical function: adverb

    The prepositional phrase "in the house" doesn't describe "Max", as does "tall" in "Max is tall", nor does it rename "Max", as does "a girl" in "Max is a girl." The prepositional phrase "in the house" tells us where Max is located, and the reason your book defines "To Be" as a state-of-being verb in those kinds of sentences.

    The adverb "today" doesn't describe "Max's party", nor does it rename "Max's party". It answers the question "When?", and the reason your book defines "To Be" as a state-of-being verb in those kinds of sentences.


    In short, and according to what you have told us about your book, here's the skinny (the simplest way of saying it):



    • if "To Be" is followed by a noun or an adjective, it is called a linking verb
      • Linking Verb: "To Be" + Noun or Adjective
        • N & A rename or describe the subject
          • Max is a girl.
          • Max is tall.



    • if "To Be" is followed by a preposition or an adverb, it is called a state-of-being verb
      • State-of-Being Verb: "To Be" + Preposition or Adverb
        • P and A describe the subject in time and space
          • Max is in the house.
          • Max's party is today.

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