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.








Sir in a sentence ' justice should not only be done but it must seen to be done, I cannot understand properly the usage of ' to be' form. I searched in Internet extensively with no use. Please explain in what circumstances we used ' to be form like I want to be lawyer, military operation to be conducted so on. Thanks

Hello raji,

'Justice should not only be done but it must seen to be done' is not grammatical, so I'm not surprised you don't understand it. I suppose it's meant to say 'it must be seen to be done', in which case the idea is that it's important that people see the authorities carrying out justice. In other words, it's important for justice to be carried out, but it's also important that people see that justice is being carried out.

The infinitive form has so many uses I can't possibly explain them all here, but I can point you in the right direction for the two you ask about. In 'I want to be a lawyer', the infinitive is used after the verb 'want'. This is a very common use, and one that you can see explained (and with examples) in the dictionary.

In 'a military operation to be conducted', which is a more uncommon use of the infinitive, it is being used to indicate a planned or expected future event. Note that here the infinitive ('to be conducted') is passive, whereas above ('to be a lawyer') it was active.

In general, it's important that you provide the context for the sentences you ask about and also tell us how you understand them or how you think about them. We're happy to help people with difficult points from time to time, but I'm afraid we're not able to provide personalised tutorials. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Sir please explain 'To Be' forms with explanation sentence of 'justice seen to be done'. Why and for what reasons 'to be' form was used in this sentence

Hello raji,

I'm afraid you'll have to provide more context for us to be able to help you with that phrase.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello, is it correct to say" why are you worried or "why worry"?and why?

Hello manuel24,

Both are fine. In the first, 'worried' is an adjective and in the second it's a verb. The first is more common, but there's nothing at all wrong with the second.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi again would you say these 2 sentences are equally used in spoken English ?
The best style possible / The best possible style and
The best thing imaginable / The best imaginable thing

also would you say that
The first train available in the morning is more colloquial than
The first available train in the morning. ?

with thanks

Hello dupontm,

All of those sentences are correct. I wouldn't like to say that any of them are definitively more or less colloquial as this is quite a subjective question. The alternatives are not actually merely questions of word order, in fact: where the adjective follows the noun the structure is actually a reduced relative clause. For example:

The best style possible > The best style (which is) possible

I would say that the versions with the adjective following the noun are less common in general, but I would not go further than that.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi it appears I found this question-answer page when originally typing in VERB BE IN ENGLISH, not specifying British Council, but I don't seem to find the same section for other questions when typing British Council so how do I get direct to the Q&A page ?

Hi dupontm,

We don't have a specific Q&A page for the site but most pages have a comments section where it is possiblet to ask questions. We try to answer as many questions as we can but we are a small team and we don't offer online lessons!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team