Some words in English are so common that we might easily forget which part of speech they are. “Is” is one of these words that is tricky to label. Believe it or not, “is” is a verb, but it can easily be mistaken for another part of speech because it doesn’t follow the same rules as many other verbs. Read on for a deeper look into the function of the word “is.”
Though “is” is classified as a verb, it doesn’t describe an action as many other verbs do. “Is” is known as a state of being verb, which means it refers to the existence of something. The most common state of being verb is “to be,” and “is” is a derivative of this verb.
“To be” is an irregular verb, and its conjugations vary widely:
“Is” is the third person singular form of “to be” in the present tense. We use “is” with the subjects he, she, and it to describe mood, nationality, occupation, and more. Here are some examples:
He is a doctor.
She is Australian.
It is on the table.
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To add some confusion to the mix, “to be” can also function as an auxiliary verb, which is a verb that goes in front of another verb to add meaning to a sentence. Auxiliary verbs can help form the tense, mood, or voice of a sentence. The duty of “is” as an auxiliary verb is often to create the present progressive tense:
Sandra is going to the baseball game.
The cat is chasing the mouse.
It’s also used to form the passive voice:
The cake is being eaten by the guests.
Proofreading and Editing
“To be” is one of the most common verbs in English, so it’s essential to learn all of its conjugations. To make sure you’re using “is” and the other forms of “to be” correctly in your writing, it’s helpful to have someone proofread[PI1] and edit[PI2] your work. You can try it by sending in a free 500-word sample to our expert editors today!