Specific instructional aims

Students are able to describe the use of verb to be in appropriate manner based on the subject and tenses.

Sub topics

·    Present singular and plural
·    Past singular and plural
·    Present perfect
·    Past perfect

What are the verb to be and the tenses? 

Verb to be is a verb that is used to modify (qualify) other verb, an adjective, or an adverb.  The tenses is any of the inflected forms of a verb that indicate the time and continuance or completion of the action or state.  There are three basic forms of tenses: present, past and future (will be discussed in detail in next lecture). There are several verb to be that are used for different subjects and different tenses as indicated in Table 1.

Table 1.
The verb to be used for different subjects and tenses.

Present Perfect
Past Perfect
will be
have been
had been
will be
have been
had been
will be
have been
had been
will be
have been
had been
will be
has been
had been
will be
has been
has been
will be
has been
had been
From the above table we can see that:
In the present tense there are three kinds of verb to be: am, are, and is.
·  am is used for the singular first person (I).
·  are is used for the plural first person (We), singular and plural second person (You), and plural third person (They).
·  is used for the singular third person (He or She), and for an object (It).
In the past tense there two kinds of verb to be:  was and were.
·  was is used for the singular first person (I) and singular third person (He or She) and for an object (It).
·  were is used for the plural first person (We), plural second person (You), and plural third person (They).
In the future tense, a modal verb (will) precedes the verb be for all the subjects.  In present perfect tense, a helping verb (have or has) precedes the word been (third form of the verb be).  Have is used for the subject I, You, We,  and They, whereas Has is used for the subject He, She, and It.  Meanwhile, for the past perfect tense, all the subjects use the past form of the helping verb (had) followed by word been (third form of the verb be).
1.   Budi, Yanto, Mahmud and Ali are the members of a youth farmers organization in our village.
2.   The price of fertilizers is expensive.
3.   I am a first year student of Agricultural Faculty, University of Jambi.
4.   She was a student of Soil Science Department in 1999.
5.   We were in Bali last month to study the traditional irrigation system “Subak”.
6.   Pak Ahmad will be happy because the government will provide him with a small business loan next month.
7.   Pak Cecep was the president of Farmers Organization from 1970 to 1980.
8.   He has been here since the Galunggung eruption in 1979.
9.   We have been in this village since last week to carry out Student Community Services.
10. Danang had been an agricultural extension officer since he graduated from UNJA in 1980.

Using verb to be with the expletive expression THERE

The verb to be can use the expletive expression THERE, to modify the subject of a sentence.  In such sentence, the verb to be agrees with the subject that follows.
1.   There are five mangoes, three oranges and ten bunches of celery in the basket.
2.   There is an axillary bud in each leaf axils in dicotyledonous plants.
3.   There were some nurseries in our village before 1997.
4.   There was a Tungro virus attack in farmer’s farm in Desa Suka Jaya last year.

Sentence transformation

An affirmative sentence employing verb to be can be transformed into a negative or interrogative sentence.  To transform the sentence into a negative form, we simply add a negation word NOT after the verb to be.  Whereas to transform the sentence into an affirmative, we simply put the verb to be at the beginning of the sentence before the subject.
1.   Potato is a tuber crop.
      Potato is not a tuber crop.
      Is potato a tuber crop?
2.   There are many birds in our rice field.
      There are not many birds in our rice field.
      Are there many birds in our rice field?
3.   I am a fish farmer.
      I am not a fish farmer.
      Am I a fish farmer?
4.   She was in the meeting last night.
      She was not in the meeting last night.
      Was she in the meeting last night?

Students’ activity

Assignment 1

Make your own sentences using the verb to be you have learned.  Your sentences should concern with the field of agriculture.

Assignment 2

Change the following sentences into negative and interrogative forms using the pattern you have learned.
1.    There are chilli peppers in the basket.
2.    The colour of garlic is white and yellowish.
3.    Shallot is one of onion types.
4.    Kamferia galanga and Zingiber officinale are of Indonesian native species.
5.    The oil palm plantations were abundant in Sumatra before 1990.
6.    The rubber plant was from Middle Asia.
7.    Indonesia was the biggest rubber producer in the world during 1950 – 1970.
8.    Most of farmers in Indonesia are poor.
9.    The small chilli pepper (Capsicum frutescens) is very hot.
10.  The organic fertilizers are good for horticultural crops.

Assignment 3

Fill in the brackets with the correct verb to (please note that the tenses rules apply here).
1.    Many years ago, Indonesian farmers (were) subsistence.
2.    Gugun (is) one of successful young farmers in our village.
3.    Coffea, tea, corn, and cassava (are) cash crops.
5.    Both corn and cassava (are) food crops.
6.    There (are) many vegetable growers in Kayu Aro, Kerinci.
7.    The agricultural extension program (is) important for farmers.
8.    We (will) in the rice field for the whole week.
9.    The recipient of Kalpataru, Hasan and Husin, (were) here tomorrow.
10.  Jimmy Carter (……….) a peanut grower before becoming a US President.

Vocabulary list

Agricultural extension         =    penyuluhan pertanian
Axillary bud                           =    tunas samping (tunas aksilar)
Cassava                                =    ubi kayu (singkong)
Cellery                                   =    seledri (Apium graveolens)
Chilli peppers                       =    cabe/lombok (Capsicum annuum)
Coffea                                    =    kopi (Coffea arabica)
Corn                                       =    jagung (Zea mays)
Crop                                       =    tanaman budidaya
Dicotyledonous plants        =    tumbuhan dikotil (berkeping dua)
Fertilizers                               =    pupuk
Garlic                                      =    bawang putih (Allium sativum)
Kamferia galanga                =    kencur
Leaf axil                                 =    ketiak daun
Mangoes                               =    mangga (Mangifera indica)
Nurseries                               =    pembibitan
Oil palm                                 =    kelapa sawit (Elaeis guineensis)
Onion                                     =    bawang (Allium cepa)
Oranges                                 =    jeruk (Citrus)
Peanut                                   =    kacang tanah (Arachis hypogaea)
Potato                                     =    kentang (Solanum tuberosum)
Rice field                               =    sawah/ladang
Rubber                                   =    karet (Hevea brassiliensis)
Shallot                                   =    bawang daun (Allium ascalonicum)
Subsistence                          =    hanya untuk memenuhi kebutuhan sendiri
Tea                                         =    teh            (Camelia sinensis)
Tuber                                      =    umbi
Vegetable                              =    sayuran
Zingiber officinale                =    jahe

Dr. H. Zulkarnain:  English for Students in Agriculture (PNU 122): A Resource Book

 dosen Faperta Universitas Jambi
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