Be and have

March 20, 2012pdf

To talk about experiencing physical sensations like hunger, thirst, heat and cold, we use the structure be + adjective. Feel + adjective is also possible. Note that we do not usually use have + noun to express these ideas.

  • I am hungry. (NOT I have hunger.)
  • Are you thirsty? (NOT Do you have thirst?)
  • Are you warm enough?
  • I am sleepy.
  • I am afraid.
  • I feel hungry.
  • I feel fine.
  • I feel cold.

Note also the expressions:

Be right, be wrong and be lucky.

  • You are right.
  • He is lucky.
  • Am I wrong?

Height, weight, age, size and color

Be, and not have, is used to talk about height, weight, age, size and color.

  • She is nearly forty. (NOT She has nearly forty.)
  • Her eyes are blue. (NOT Her eyes have blue.)
  • My brother is six feet tall. (NOT My brother has six feet height.)
  • She is the same height as her husband.
  • What size are your shoes?
  • I wish I was a few inches taller.
  • I wish I was a few kilos lighter.

Note that in measuring expressions we do not use be heavy.

  • She weighs forty-eight kilos. (NOT She is forty-eight kilos heavy.)

Note on the verb weigh

Weigh is one of those verbs which are not normally used in the progressive form.

  • I weighed fifty-six kilos two months ago. (NOT I was weighing fifty-six kilos two months ago.)

However, weigh can be used in the progressive form when it does not mean ‘have weight’.

  • The scales broke when she was weighing herself the other day.
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