the verb be


The verb be has the following forms:

Present simple: Affirmative I am
You are
He/She/It is
We are
You are
They are
  Question form: Am I?
Are you?
Is he/she it?
Are we?
Are you?
Are they?
  Negative: I am not/ I’m not
You are not/ aren’t
He/She/It is not/ isn’t
We are not/aren’t
You are not/aren’t
They are not/aren't
Past simple   I was
You were
He/She/It was
We were
You were
They were
The past participle:   been.  
Present perfect:   has/have been  
Past perfect:   had been  

 The verb be is used in the following patterns:

1. with a noun:

My mother is a teacher.
Bill Clinton was the president of the US.

2. with an adjective:

This soup is very tasty.
The children were good.

2.1 with the -ing form to make the continuous aspect

We were walking down the street.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.

2.2 with the -ed form to make the passive voice

The house was built in 1890.
The street is called Montagu Street.
This car was made in Japan.

3. with a prepositional phrase:

John and his wife are from Manchester.
The flowers are on the table.







dear sir,
I need help understanding subject, object, nouns, pronoun, verbs and adjectives etc.
also any tips to improve my vocabulary. many thanks

Hello adilnawaz,

That's quite a list - I'd guess you've covered most of the English grammar system there! I think our grammar pages can help you. You can use the index to find useful pages to help you with each topic on your list.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi all,

I'm an ESL teacher and I have trouble explaining 'to be'. Here are my questions:

1) Why do we always say that the present tense of 'to be' is: am, is, are. Why don't we say that it's:
am, is, are, be. Isn't 'be' used in the present tense as in "I want to be happy".

2) When we refer to an irregular verb and refer to 'be' we see this:

Simple Form Simple Past Past Participle

be was, were been

As you see 'be' is the Simple Form. Why? We don't use the word 'be' very much. Usually we use : is, am, are.

Any help or ideas would be appreciated

Hi abcd123,

1. 'to be' or 'be' is the infinitive or base form; it is a different form from the present. This page will help you to see the difference.

2. The term usually used (and the term we use on our page) is 'base form'. 'Simple' is usually used to describe verb forms as a way of differentiating them from continuous forms.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello English Team,

Is there any difference between " going to dinner" and "going for dinner." Please explain.

Thank you n have a great day!

Hello Dona S,

Personally, I'd say 'go out' instead of 'go' if what you mean is to go to a restaurant to eat. With 'go out', both 'to dinner' and 'for dinner' are used.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello English Team,

"Adam was born and grown up in England." Is this sentence gramatically correct? or should I say, "Adam was born and raised in England."

Also, I read in one of Raymond Murphy´s grammar books, if I say, "Adam was born and brought up in England," that means Adam was brought up by someone (in the sense adopted by someone).

What´s the best way to express the above?

Please Explain. Thank you.

Hello Dona,

Your first sentence is not correct. This is because 'to be born' only exists in the passive in English, whereas 'to grow up', as an intransitive verb, has no passive form. Most people, including myself, would use your second sentence, though others object to the use of the verb 'raise' with this sense, saying the proper verb here is 'to rear', as only animals or plants are 'raised'.

I don't agree that 'to bring up' suggests that Adam was adopted. It could mean that, but not necessarily. You might want to check in a few dictionaries to see how it's used.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your explanation Kirk. I highly appreciate that your team are there for everyone who likes to improve his/her language skills.