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.







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.

Hi English Team,

Would you mind explaining how to use "except" and "except for" to me please. It´s a bit complicated for me.

Thank you.

Hi Dona,

'except for' is used before nouns and pronouns (and pronouns go in their object forms, e.g. 'except for me' not 'except for I') and 'except' is used in most other cases.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish Team,

I have three different pairs of sentences. There are two sentences in each pair. They are very similar to each other. Would you mind explaing if there is any difference between the two sentences in each pair.

1. "The letter was already posted" and "letter had already been posted."

2. "Would you like something to drink"? and "Would you like to drink something"?

3. "Mary prepares for lunch." and " Mary prepares lunch."

Awaiting you response. Thank you.

Hi Dona S,

What do you think? There is a difference in the sentences in 1, which you can find out about by reading our past tense page. In 2, there's not a significant difference. In 3, you can find out if there's a difference by using the dictionary (look up 'prepare').

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish Team,

Please give me a brief explanation for "stressed syllable" (eg: the word "music"). I really don´t understand how words get stressed. Awaiting a quick response. Thank you.

Hi Dona S,

In every word with more than one syllable, there is one that is stressed. For example, if you look up the word 'friendly' in our dictionary (see the search box on the right), you can hear it pronounced by clicking on the red or blue icons. Notice this pronunciation is represented as /ˈ The ' in /ˈ means that the syllable after it (frend) is where you put the emphasis when you pronounce the word (not on "li"). I'm not able to record it here, but if you pronounced the word as /frend.'li/ (i.e. with stress on the second syllable), it would be incorrect and others might not understand you so easily.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team