Lesser Verbs: am, be, to

Five types of verbs do not pass the verb tests.  But they are still verbs.

We can summarize the five with am tenting. (I is there only to form a sentence for easier remembering.)


am and be

The first important part in I AM TENTING is am. It stands for am and be

Am and be are almost the same word.

Am can stand alone.

            Example:        I am alone.

Be must have another verb to help it.

            Example:        I will be good, Santa!

Both am and be are always verbs.   

Correct:        I am going home.

Incorrect:     I be going home.

Correct:       I must be going home.

Small Group Activity

Find the verbs in the following. The number of verbs is in parenthesis.

1. I should be home when you arrive.       (3)

4. You must be crazy.                                (2)

2. I am fine.                                               (1)

5. Tonya will be here tomorrow.               (2)

3. I will be glad if our bird is okay.          (3)

6. I am sure he left.                                    (2)

Small Group Activity

Find the verbs in the following:

1. I think Margarita lives here.

3. If she calls, tell her I am sick.

2. He must be home, because a light is on.

4. The carpenter said he will work on it.


The first t in I AM TENTING stands for to.

A verb is like a powerful queen. It magnetizes other words.

One word the verb magnetizes is to. If to is immediately before a verb, ….

That happens only if to comes before the queen.

Verb:                          I am going to play basketball.

Not a verb:                 I am going to the store.

Small Group Activity

Find the verbs in the following.

1. Jack wants to play in tonight’s game.

5.  Try to relax before the next event.

2. Leki has decided to go to college in Florida.

6.  Start a fire if you want to roast marshmallows.

3. Randy should ask her to the prom.

7.  Please turn to the next chapter.

4. Sophia is sure to win a scholarship.

8.  She has asked me to race her.


Adding to the syntax tree(s)

We can add am, be and to to our syntax tree(s).  Label them V like any other verb. The tree below shows the sentence Jamie has to go home.


Small Group Activity

Draw and label a tree for each sentence below.

 1. Rhonda wants to play basketball.

2. I am home.

3. Clowns like to create laughter.


Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete at least one of these exercises:    Sealand Grades 4+

                                                                        Svalbard Grades 4+