Commend your students for understanding the "be" verb

Because Americans seem to be losing their grasp of it. All the freakin’ time, I hear people starting sentences with “there’s” when they should be using “there are.”

A couple of days after I got back, I had to send my sister to the airport. Inside the aiport, there was this huge Saturn (car) advertisement which said, “There’s many Saturn locations to serve you.” I could not believe it.

It’s driving me insane. Many of the kids I tutor now also do not recognize that the words “is,” “are,” “was” and “were” are verbs. If I say something like, “Yeah, that’s the changed form of the verb ‘to be’,” they just stare at me blankly.


EDIT: GASP! THis is my 200th!!! Can I have a sticker now, Maoman?

I get the same blank stares from my students.

They can’t wrap their minds around the idea that “is”, “am”, and “are” are forms of the verb “to be”; so I end up with them writing things in past tense such as “I am sat.” Or “I am fell.” They do this even though I have written the conjugated forms of the verbs and examples of their usage on the board.


I am sat upon.

They would need to comprehend the passive to understand what is wrong with “I am sat.” May “be” a bit beyond them as may be a lot of the rules regarding the use of all of the auxiliaries. Give it some time but start by making sure that they really understand basic grammar terminology: subject, verb, object…

I am working towards being able to teach English Grammar in Mandarin and what I am discovering is that most people need and appreciate a clear explanation of the basics. After that, loads of drilling.

Old fashioned I know but it seems to be working.

I think “there’s” tends to be substituted for “there are” simply because it’s easier to say.

“There’s these two ducks that walk into a bar…”

Notice you didn’t see the full form “there is many Saturn locations…”; though I’m surprised that even the contraction was actually used in writing.