Short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple

(Formation of short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple – I’m, you’re, she’s …)

Table of contents – short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Forming short forms of ‘to be’
  2. Using short forms of ‘to be’
  3. Examples of short forms
  4. Further explanations and exercises

Formation of short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple

Beside the regular forms (which means the forms fully written out) it is also possible to use short forms for ‘to be’ in the present simple (am, is, are). Such shortened forms (’m, ’re, ’s) are regularly used in spoken language and in written informal English, as it is the case in emails, postcards, and so on.

  • Compare the following table with the conjugated short forms of ‘to be’:

Use of short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple

The table shows the short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple. There are two possible ways to shorten the verb ‘to be’:

Person or pronoun Positive or affirmative Negative (possibility 1) or Negative (possibility 2)
I I’m I’m not
you (singular) you’re you’re not or you aren’t
he he’s he’s not or he isn’t
she she’s she’s not or she isn’t
it it’s it’s not or it isn’t
we we’re we’re not or we aren’t
you (plural) you’re you’re not or you aren’t
they they’re they’re not or they aren’t

Examples with short forms of ‘to be’

Here are some example sentences that use the shortened forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple:

  • Positive forms:
    • “I’m a bit tired.”
    • “Sue and Mary are waiting, they’re angry.”
    • “It’s a beautiful day to go for a walk.”
    • “My sister’s in the garden.”
  • Negative forms:
    • “I’m not at home.”
    • “That isn’t right.”
    • “James and I aren’t very good friends.”
    • “You’re not a very good student.”
  • Interrogative forms (only possible in negative questions):
    • Isn’t this Melissa’s handbag?”
    • “They are real computer specialists, aren’t they?”
      • here with question tagQuestion Tags
    • Aren’t we on the wrong way?”
    • “Why isn’t the cat outside?”

Further explanations related to the topic ‘Forming short forms of ‘to be’ in the present simple’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘Short forms of ‘to be’ in the simple present’ and can be helpful:

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