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.








I expect my instructions to be carried out to the letter.
Can you please tell me what part of grammar is 'to be carried out'?

Hello Sash,

That is a passive infinitive, i.e. an infinitive in the passive voice.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir , this is a sentence I have read : While talks were on between Democrats in Congress and Trump earlier this week on legislation to protect young undocumented migrants, who were Trump has given Congress six months to enact a replacement plan for DACA recipients.

I have not understood what ' who were ' is doing here.

Would you explain ?

Thank you

Hello dipakrgandhi,

As written, that sentence is incorrect. Either you have made a mistake in copying it or the author has made a mistake when writing it.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you. I have copied it correctly; may be it is author's mistake.

I couldn't find the right section in the list of grammar units, so maybe here you could answer my question: is it corect to say " to be popular among"? Or in all cases "be popular with" must be used?
Thanks a lot!

Hello Daniel157,

It's good to consult a dictionary for this kind of question. In the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'popular', you will see the answer to your question in the example sentences, where both 'with' and 'among' are used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I'd live in a big house by the sea if I were rich
In the above sentance can we use was instead of were. I think we use were only for plurals.

Hello Satish Patil,

Both 'was' and 'were' are possible in conditional sentences of this kind. In fact, in the past it used to be only 'were' that was acceptable, but not 'was' is also quite common. The reason for the use of 'were' is that the past form in these conditionals is actually not the past simple but the past subjunctive. The past subjunctive is identical in form to the past simple apart from this use of 'were'.

I think in formal contexts 'were' is still preferable, but 'was' is quite common in more informal language.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

By our conduct god requires that we be holy. Why does it say "we be" instead of "we are"? Thanks for your answer.