Croatian/Serbian (BCS): Biti and htjeti/hteti - auxiliary verbs

GoranBcn

Senior Member
Catalan, Spanish, Croatian/Serbian
How many auxiliar verbs are there in Croatian and Serbian?

I've learnt that there were two of them biti and htjeti/hteti.


BITI


naglašeni nesvršeni

jesam
jesi
jest(e)
jesmo
jeste
jesu

nenaglašeni nesvršeni

sam
si
je
smo
ste
su

svršeni prezent

budem
budeš
bude
budemo
budete
budu

HTJETI

naglašeni nesvršeni

hoću
hoćeš
hoće
hoćemo
hoćete
hoće

nenaglašeni nesvršeni

ću
ćeš
će
ćemo
ćete
će

svršeni prezent

ht(j)ednem
ht(j)edneš
ht(j)edne
ht(j)ednemo
ht(j)ednete
ht(j)ednu

After speaking with some Croatian/Serbian teachers they said there were only two (the ones I've mentioned above). But according to some others there are three of them: biti, htjeti/hteti and jesam

Can anyone tell me which one of these theories is correct?
 
  • venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    That's a mystery to me, too...
    I know I was always taught at school that there are only 2 auxiliaries in Croatian, biti and htjeti...
    It's a possibility that your sources are mistaken - I don't see any other explanation. (It does happen - it took me 'till college to discover some things concerning German I'd learned in elementary school are totally wrong)
     

    alby

    Senior Member
    Croatia
    Hi
    Croatian has only 2 auxilary verbs Biti and Htjeti, both of them have 3 forms (naglašen nesvršen, nenaglašen nesvršen i svršeni prezent) and jesam is one form of naglašen nesvršen verb Biti, Venenum told you correctly it's 1st person singular of BITI.

    Nataša
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    I vaguely remember that I was taught at school about an auxiliary jesam/biti, as if it were one verb with two forms. Therfore, from jesam would be: jesam, jesi, jeste, itd. and from biti would be all other forms that include bi...., i.e.
    budem
    budeš
    bude
    budemo
    budete
    budu

    Or, bio/la in pluscuaperfect

    ja sam bio otishao. But I am positive that this is almost out of use nowadays.
     

    erin

    New Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    There are definitely 2 auxiliary verbs in Croatian as well as in Serbian, which are biti / htjeti in Croatian and biti / hteti in Serbian. Never heard that jesam is an auxiliary.
    You may be confused becuase there are two verbs for biti in Spanish, ser and estar. "Jesam" can only be soy or estoy, nothing else.
    Hope I helped a bit :) .
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    There are definitely 2 auxiliary verbs in Croatian as well as in Serbian, which are biti / htjeti in Croatian and biti / hteti in Serbian. Never heard that jesam is an auxiliary.
    You may be confused becuase there are two verbs for biti in Spanish, ser and estar. "Jesam" can only be soy or estoy, nothing else.
    Hope I helped a bit :) .

    Are you talking to me, or to Goran? If it's me, please reread my post. I said:

    about an auxiliary jesam/biti, as if it were one verb with two forms.

    I never claimed there are two verbs biti.

    And it has nothing to do with ser &estar. Ser&estar have two completely different meanings and uses.

    If it is Goran, then, sorry.:)
    But anyway, I doubt that Goran mixes up with Spanish, because simply there is no relation between these two.
     

    erin

    New Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    Are you talking to me, or to Goran? If it's me, please reread my post. I said:



    I never claimed there are two verbs biti.

    And it has nothing to do with ser &estar. Ser&estar have two completely different meanings and uses.

    If it is Goran, then, sorry.:)
    But anyway, I doubt that Goran mixes up with Spanish, because simply there is no relation between these two.


    I was referring to Goran of course otherwise I would quote you as I'm doing now. And please don't tell me that biti does nothing to do with ser and estar. If it doesn’t how would you then translate these two Spanish verbs in Croatian, I really wonder.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    I was referring to Goran of course otherwise I would quote you as I'm doing now. And please don't tell me that biti does nothing to do with ser and estar. If it doesn’t how would you then translate these two Spanish verbs in Croatian, I really wonder.

    Erin, you did not quote anyone. And since only Goran and I have Spanish exposed as a spoken language here, I had my doubts and I clearly expressed them. Besides, I said I am sorry if I was wrong.

    As far as ser&estar is concerned, it is translated as biti to Croatian and to Serbian. Maybe I did not make myself clear enough, sorry. What I wanted to say is that the fact that there are two verbs BITI (ser&estar) in Spanish, does not have anything to do with Goran's doubt about the number of auxiliary verbs in S/C, because as you already know (I assume that you already know, because it would be stupid to speak about something you don't know, wouldn't it?), ser and estar cannot be used interchangeably, but there is a very clear difference in using them in Spanish. I wouldn't like to go off topic here, so I will stop here, and if you need (or wish) any furter explanation, please contact me by PM.

    Saludos!:)
     

    lidia1201

    Member
    Serbia/serbo
    Tri pomocna glagola u srpskom jeziku su: jesam, hteti i biti.
    Glagol "jesam" nema infinitiv i ima samo PREZENT:

    jesam (sam)
    jesi (si)
    jeste (je)

    jesmo (smo)
    jeste (ste)
    jesu (su)

    Glagol "hteti" ima sve oblike osim trpnog prideva.
    PREZENT
    hoću (ću)
    hoćes (ćeš)
    hoće (će)

    hoćemo (ćemo)
    hoćete (ćete)
    hoće (će)

    IMPERATIV
    /
    htedni
    -neka hoće-

    htednimo
    htednite
    -neka hoće-

    AORIST
    hteh (htedoh)
    hte (htede)
    hte (htede)

    htesmo (htedosmo)
    hteste (htedoste)
    hteše (htedoše)

    IMPERFEKAT
    hoćah
    hoćaše
    hoćaše

    hoćasmo
    hoćaste
    hoćahu

    GLAGOLSKI PRILOG SADASNJI: hoteći
    GLAGOLSKI PRILOG PROSLI: htevši, htev

    Glagol "biti" ima sve oblike osim trpnog prideva.
    PREZENT
    budem
    budeš
    bude

    budemo
    budete
    budu

    IMPERATIV
    /
    budi
    -neka bude-

    budimo
    budite
    -neka budu-

    AORIST
    bih
    bi
    bi

    bismo
    biste
    biše

    IMPERFEKAT
    bejah, beh
    bejaše, beše
    bejaše, beše

    bejasmo, besmo
    bejaste, beste
    bejahu, behu

    GLAGOLSKI PRILOG SADASNJI: budući
    GLAGOLSKI PRILOG PROSLI: bivši, biv

    PERFEKAT se gradi pomocu enklitickih (skracenih) oblika prezenta glagola "jesam".
    FUTUR se gradi pomocu enklitickih oblika prezenta glagola "hteti".
    FUTUR EGZAKTNI se gradi pomocu prezenta glagola "biti".
    PLUSKVAMPERFEKAT se gradi pomocu oblika imperfekta ili perfekta glagola "biti".
    POTENCIJAL se gradi pomocu aorista glagola "biti".
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Thank you, Lidia, now I understand why I had this jesam/biti in mind. I knew something was wrong with this jesam, but I couldn't explain why. That's right, it has NO infinitive, and it has only present. It's like deffective verb must or can in English.

    Hvala na iscrpnom objašnjenju.:)
     

    venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    And there's one difference between Croatian and Serbian: in Croatian, we don't separate biti and jesam, we treat jesam as the 1st perston singular from biti (what it actually, on my account, is)
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    A little off topic: You're still doing better than Russian. By the time you get to Russian, the only form of jesam left is "jest" (есть), nothing else.

    Excuse me?

    I'm sorry, but I am afraid I don't get what is exactly that you want to say. I am still doing better?:confused: Better? I do not even speak Russian.. Can you please elaborate a little bit? Thank you.:)
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    Excuse me?

    I'm sorry, but I am afraid I don't get what is exactly that you want to say. I am still doing better?:confused: Better? I do not even speak Russian.. Can you please elaborate a little bit? Thank you.:)

    He wanted to say that you Craotians are still doing better with Coratian, for you have a partly defective verb, whereas in Russian the only remaining form of быть is есть.
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Oh, sorry for the confusion, Natasha:). I meant "you" as in the speakers of Serbian. As j3str3 said, I simply meant that your (!!) defective verb Jesam becomes REALLY deficient in the Russian language.
    P.s. I was referring specifically to Jesam, because we do have several forms for byt', many sound essentially the same as in Srpski.
    Best:)
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    He wanted to say that you Craotians are still doing better with Coratian, for you have a partly defective verb, whereas in Russian the only remaining form of быть is есть.

    Oh, sorry for the confusion, Natasha:). I meant "you" as in the speakers of Serbian. As j3str3 said, I simply meant that your (!!) defective verb Jesam becomes REALLY deficient in the Russian language.
    P.s. I was referring specifically to Jesam, because we do have several forms for byt', many sound essentially the same as in Srpski.
    Best:)

    I thought it was something like this, but I wanted to be sure.:D
    Thank you for the explanation, both of you. Thanks.:)
     

    GoranBcn

    Senior Member
    Catalan, Spanish, Croatian/Serbian
    You may be confused becuase there are two verbs for biti in Spanish, ser and estar. "Jesam" can only be soy or estoy, nothing else. Hope I helped a bit :) .

    Bok Erin,

    I'm not confused at all regarding SER and ESTAR. They don't have anything to do with my question above. ;)

    Hvala ti u svakom slučaju.

    Pozdrav,

    Goran
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    Back to the topic:
    What was the verdict for the number of auxiliaries in Serbian/Croatian? Two or three? How shall we cope with "BITI"? Are "jesam" and "budem" actually two different forms of "BITI" or two completely different auxiliaries?

    In my view, we are talking of only two auxiliaries "biti" and "hteti" which have different forms, which were kindly listed by others in this discussion. On the other hand, "biti" has different forms - such as: jesam , budem, etc. We can compare it with "to be" in the English language which has forms "be. was. were. been. am, is, are" and yet, we don't call these forms different auxiliaries but only different forms of "to be".

    As far as I can remember from the History of English there is the common stem in all Indo-European languages of the verb "to be", which still can be traced in the infinitive forms of this verb in all European languages e.g. BE (Old English- BEON), German - Ich bin; S/Croatian : BITI etc.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    As far as I can remember from the History of English there is the common stem in all Indo-European languages of the verb "to be", which still can be traced in the infinitive forms of this verb in all European languages e.g. BE (Old English- BEON), German - Ich bin; S/Croatian : BITI etc.

    And how do you explain then the existence of two verbs biti in Spanish, which by the way, do not look like be at all? And in other Romanic languages, the form of the verb be does not have anything to do with BE, BEON,BIN, BITI, etc.

    ser estar
    etre
    essere
     

    beclija

    Senior Member
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    That is two questions: why do the Romance words not look like BE-/BI- or anything?

    I don't think there is much to be explained. The verb always had two sets of forms, one with "es(t)" or something similar, and the other with "bi-", cf. English to be vs. he is, German ich bin vs. er ist. (I am/he is). Somwhere on the way to Latin that pattern got regularized by applying "es-" to all forms. That kind of thing happens all over the place.

    Why does Spanish have two verbs?

    Those don't have any connection in terms of their difference in meaning with biti vs. jesam even if we were to accept that these are distinct. Anyway, even in other languages there are more ways to express "to be": "Војводина лежи/се налази на југу панонске равнине" - taking a wild guess, i suggest that estar has developed out of such, possibly from a verb like "stati".

    edit: etymonline conforms my guess:

    stay
    "to remain," 1440, from M.Fr. estai-, stem of ester "to stay or stand," from O.Fr., from L. stare "to stand" (cf. It. stare, Sp. estar*sta- "to stand" "to stand, to be"), from PIE base *sta- "to stand".

    Also, it just occured to me that even Spanish has the b-form in "fui".

    be
    O.E. beon, beom, bion (...) The modern verb represents the merger of two once-distinct verbs, the "b-root" represented by be and the am/was verb, which was itself a conglomerate. The "b-root" is from PIE base *bheu-, *bhu- "grow, come into being, become," and in addition to Eng. it yielded Ger. present first and second person sing. (bin, bist, from O.H.G. bim "I am," bistesse (fui "I was," etc.), O.C.S. byti "be," Gk. phu- "become," O.Ir. bi'u "I am," Lith. bu'ti "to be," Rus. byt' "to be," (...) So the question is basically: did they merge in Slavic as they did in Romance and Germanic? I would have said yes.
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    Now we are again off the topic, but the subject of Language history is extremely interesting as well! Unfortuantely, since I graduated ten years ago I haven't had the opportunity (nor time) to refresh my memory /knowledge but anyone interested should read an excellent book by Andre Martinet "Indoeuropeans" which thoroughly explains the common origins of peoples and their languages living in this vast region long, long time ago!

    I quote Beclia:
    ...So the question is basically: did they merge in Slavic as they did in Romance and Germanic? I would have said yes.

    from Wikipedia :
    " Geographically, the "eastern" languages belong in the Satem group: Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic (but not including Tocharian and Anatolian); and the "western" languages represent the Centum group: Germanic, Italic, and Celtic "

    As far as I remember, the best example was 100 - Sto vs. Hundred etc.

    We must be very patient and cautious while discussing these things, since there were many other language changes that took place in the course of time! For example, in Germanic languages there were a few great consonant shifts which can be seen in the pairs such as German wasser - water.

    So you might again ask about Spanish, but being here in the complete fog, I would direct you to reference books! (talking about myself now : little knowledge is a dangerous thing !)
    cheers!
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    (talking about myself now : little knowledge is a dangerous thing !)
    cheers!

    As long as one is ready to admit it, no, it is not dangerous, it is rather inspiring, since it pushes you to learn more:)

    Thank you , Beclija and Mayya for your explanation. I really do not know much about that far history of indo-european languages, and it is really a mistery for me different forms of the werb to be in all those languages. Maybe I should look for that book,Mayya...:D

    Chau!:)
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    Thanks for taking interested - and iff you happen to have time the book is a must. (iff = as a math term)
    Bye
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    ...sto bi lingvisti rekli, infinitiv od "jesam ..." je BITI, Tako bar pise u gramatikama, tako da nije kod tog glagola nista izuzetno. The same applies to "to be" which is the infinitive form of "am, is, are, was, were, been"
     

    lidia1201

    Member
    Serbia/serbo
    ...sto bi lingvisti rekli, infinitiv od "jesam ..." je BITI, Tako bar pise u gramatikama, tako da nije kod tog glagola nista izuzetno. The same applies to "to be" which is the infinitive form of "am, is, are, was, were, been"

    A koji je onda infinitiv od "budem"? Sta kazu lingvisti?
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Pa znam ja, ali neki uporno tvrde da glagol "jesam" ima infinitiv i da je to takodje "biti".

    Ne razumem cemu ta ironija. Ako imas nesto da kazes i da doprineses ovoj diskusiji, na konstruktivan nacin i sa argumentima, samo izvoli, dobro si dosla, pa cak i ako se ne slazes sa nekim ovde, nije zabranjeno.
    Za to postoje ovi forumi, da ljudi diskutuju i nauce nesto jedni od drugih. Nemoj te insinuacije i ironije. Stvarno nije u redu.
     

    Maja

    Senior Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    Pa koliko se ja sećam, nas su učili da u Srpskom postoje tri pomoćna glagola: jesam, biti i hteti. Od toga JESAM ima samo oblike prezenta (sam, si, je, smo, ste, su), BITI ima sve oblike osim trpnog gl. prideva, i HTETI takođe ima sve oblike osim trpnog prideva.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Pa koliko se ja sećam, nas su učili da u srpskom postoje tri pomoćna glagola: jesam, biti i hteti. Od toga JESAM ima samo oblike prezenta (sam, si, je, smo, ste, su), BITI ima sve oblike osim trpnog gl. prideva, i HTETI takođe ima sve oblike osim trpnog prideva.

    Toga se i ja sećam.
    (Majo, brka ti se engleski sa srpskim;) ...)
     

    lidia1201

    Member
    Serbia/serbo
    Ne razumem cemu ta ironija. Ako imas nesto da kazes i da doprineses ovoj diskusiji, na konstruktivan nacin i sa argumentima, samo izvoli, dobro si dosla, pa cak i ako se ne slazes sa nekim ovde, nije zabranjeno.
    Za to postoje ovi forumi, da ljudi diskutuju i nauce nesto jedni od drugih. Nemoj te insinuacije i ironije. Stvarno nije u redu.

    Nisam htela da zvucim ironicno, izvinjavam se, samo sam htela da cujem sta oni misle o tome sto i "jesam" i "budem" imaju za infinitiv "biti". A vec sam bila doprinela (nadam se) ovoj diskusiji "iscrpnim objasnjenjem" :)
    Nadam se da ne zvucim ironicno, ponovo, zaista mi nije namera.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Nisam htela da zvucim ironicno, izvinjavam se, samo sam htela da cujem sta oni misle o tome sto i "jesam" i "budem" imaju za infinitiv "biti". A vec sam bila doprinela (nadam se) ovoj diskusiji "iscrpnim objasnjenjem" :)
    Nadam se da ne zvucim ironicno, ponovo, zaista mi nije namera.

    Sorry, naravno da jesi.:)

    S obzirom da Mayyya ima drugaciji stav od tebe i nekoliko nas ovde (da je biti infinitiv od jesam), bilo bi lepo od nje da nam obrazlozi malo detaljnije tu svoju tvrdnju.
     

    venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    Switching back to English, for the sake of others who may be interested in the discussion.
    If I may give my contribution: We were taught in school, that Croatian language has only two auxiliaries, biti and htjeti, and biti is an irregular verb, whose rooth changes in the present tens, and becomes jesam.
    To prove this, for all Thomases of this forum: what's the future tense of jesam? Why, it's biti ću. What's the past tense of jesam? Why, it's bio sam. And how is this different from biti? It has the same root, the same meaning... So it has to be the same verb, only with irregular present tense.

    Prebacujem se na Engleski zbog ostalih koje ova rasprava možda zanima.
    Ako bih smjela dati svoj doprinos: nas su u školi učili da u hrvatskom jeziku postoje samo dva pomoćna glagola, biti i htjeti, a biti je nepravilan glagol, čiji korijen se mijenja u prezentu, i postaje jesam. A kao dokaz, za sve nevjerne Tome ovoga foruma: kako glasi futur od jesam? Pa biti ću. A kako glasi perfekt od jesam? Pa bio sam. I po čemu se to razlikuje od biti? Ima isti korijen, isto značenje... Stoga to mora biti isti glagol, s nepravilnom tvorbom prezenta.


    Poison
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Switching back to English, for the sake of others who may be interested in the discussion.
    If I may give my contribution: We were taught in school, that Croatian language has only two auxiliaries, biti and htjeti, and biti is an irregular verb, whose rooth changes in the present tens, and becomes jesam.
    To prove this, for all Thomases of this forum: what's the future tense of jesam? Why, it's biti ću. What's the past tense of jesam? Why, it's bio sam. And how is this different from biti? It has the same root, the same meaning... So it has to be the same verb, only with irregular present tense.

    I see your point. And to be honest, I agree with you on that. As a matter of fact, I have never had it clear, why does jesam is counted as a separate verb. But this seems that is taught in Serbian schools... On the other hand, it has been a long time since I went to school, and recently I realized that there have been made many changes in linguistic rules, so I wouldn't be surprised that now schools in Serbia teach that there are two auxiliary verbs - biti and hteti.
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    I also remember the story about "jesam, biti, hteti" from the primary school. While I was studying English language we had (too) much linguistic input and there was a fine explanation on the LINKING verb "to be", which actually only links subject with a noun/adjective/preposition&place, time,/ number(for age) - or just to quote one of the definitions found on the net:
    Linking verbs do not express action. Instead, they connect the subject of the verb to additional information about the subject. Source


    If you swich the meaning of "to be" in different tenses and for different persons you get the same meaning = the form TO BE is actually a general term, as well as BITI for jesam, etc. While I am NOT a professor of Serbian language I might not be competent to explain this in terms of Serbian linguistics terminology.

    If I apply mathematical reasoning though, I may prove myself wrong, as you kindly suggested, ...just bear with me:

    If BITI is the same form as JESAM and BITI, they (sam and biti) should have the same translation, or at least the meaning, but they seem not to:
    "Ja jesam nastavnik." I AM a teacher.
    "Kad ja BUDEM nastavnik, ja cu..." When I BECOME a teacher, I ...
    ...alas, while Einstein would be delighted by this, you guys might not... I am afraid we are back to square one!
    Cheers
     

    Maja

    Senior Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    kako glasi futur od jesam? Pa biti ću. A kako glasi perfekt od jesam? Pa bio sam. I po čemu se to razlikuje od biti? Ima isti korijen, isto značenje... Stoga to mora biti isti glagol, s nepravilnom tvorbom prezenta.
    Kao što rekoh, nas su učili da JESAM nema ni futur ni perfekat niti bilo koji drugi gl. oblik osim prezenta (čak ni infinitiv). Dok glagol BITI, makar u srpskom, ima oblik prezenta koji glasi:
    1. budem 1. budemo
    2. budeš 2. budete
    3. bude 3. budu
    Ja mislim da je pretpostavka da su to DVA glagola, zasnovana upravo na tome što jedan glagol ne može da ima dva POTPUNO različita oblika prezenta. To je bar moj zaključak.
    Sigurno da ima takvih slučajeva u drugim jezicima, ali ne i u našem!
    Switching back to English, for the sake of others who may be interested in the discussion.
    I agree and apologize for writing only in Serbian. So:
    As I already said, we were taught in schools that the verb JESAM has no future tense, nor perfect tense nor any other verbal form beside present (including infinitive). While the verb BITI, at least in Serbian, has a present tense form:
    1. budem 1. budemo
    2. budeš 2. budete
    3. bude 3. budu
    I think that the assumption that they are in fact two different verbs is based on the fact that one verb cannot have two completely different forms of present. That is, at least, my conclusion.
    There are probable such cases in other languages, but not in ours.
     

    lidia1201

    Member
    Serbia/serbo
    "Kad ja budem nastavnik ja cu..."

    Ja mislim da bi trebalo da se kaze: "Kada ja budem bio nastavnik, ja cu..."
    To je FUTUR II (egzaktni) kojim se oznacava nerealizovana radnja za koju govornik pretpostavlja da ce se desiti u buducnosti, pre neke druge buduce radnje ili istovremeno sa njom.
     

    Mayyya

    New Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    We could list myriads of examples, such as: "Kada budem ljuta, recicu ti" - although the deep structure ( check the Transformational grammar, Chomsky) of this sentence would be "Kada budem bila ljuta..." which is exactly what I was pointing at - BITI, as the linking verb.

    Now, off the topic, again: When I teach the verb TO BE, I tend to explain that this was probably one of the first abstract verbs, carrying no meaning, but just linking ideas. So the first dialogues would be:
    I be (a) caveman. (noun)
    I be rich. (adjective)
    I be from that cave (preposition + place)
    I be 16 (number)*
    Since there is only one difference* between English and Serbian - we say "ja imam 16 godina" , but in English "I am 16", we might conclude that the age was more important information in the Anglo-Saxon world than in the Slavic one.:idea: No matter how frivolous this explanation might be, it helps students grasp the difference between TO BE as the linking verb and auxiliary (in "She IS writing"), although, in some grammars, it is treated as the linking verb as well. ... this terminology issue is a never ending story!
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    We could list myriads of examples, such as: "Kada budem ljuta, recicu ti" - although the deep structure ( check the Transformational grammar, Chomsky) of this sentence would be "Kada budem bila ljuta..." which is exactly what I was pointing at - BITI, as the linking verb.

    Now, off the topic, again: When I teach the verb TO BE, I tend to explain that this was probably one of the first abstract verbs, carrying no meaning, but just linking ideas. So the first dialogues would be:
    I be (a) caveman. (noun)
    I be rich. (adjective)
    I be from that cave (preposition + place)
    I be 16 (number)*
    Since there is only one difference* between English and Serbian - we say "ja imam 16 godina" , but in English "I am 16", we might conclude that the age was more important information in the Anglo-Saxon world than in the Slavic one.:idea: No matter how frivolous this explanation might be, it helps students grasp the difference between TO BE as the linking verb and auxiliary (in "She IS writing"), although, in some grammars, it is treated as the linking verb as well. ... this terminology issue is a never ending story!

    Wouldn't the term be copulative verb and not linking verb?
     
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