Level: beginner

The verb be has the following forms:

The verb be
Infinitive form be
Present simple: + I am, I'm
You are, You're
He/She/It is, He/She/It's
We are, we're
You are, you're
They are, they're
? Am I?
Are you?
Is he/she it?
Are we?
Are you?
Are they?
- I am not, I’m not
You are not, You aren’t, You're not
He/She/It is not, He/She/It isn’t, He's not
We are not, We aren’t, We're not
You are not, You aren’t, You're not
They are not, They aren't, They're not

 
Past simple + I was
You were
He/She/It was
We were
You were
They were
? Was I?
Were you?
Was he/she/it?
Were we?
Were you?
Were they?
- I was not, I wasn't
You were not, You weren't
He/She/It was not, He/She/It wasn't
We were not, We weren't
You were not, You weren't
They were not, They weren't
Past participle been
Present perfect has/have been
Past perfect had been
Present participle being
Present continuous am/is/are being
Past continuous was/were being

We use the infinitive form be with modal verbs:

It will be dark soon.
They might be tired.

The verb be is a link verb. It is used:

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

This soup is very tasty.
The children were good.

  • with a prepositional phrase:

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

am, is, are 1
ex. am, is, are 1
am, is, are 2
ex. am, is, are 2
am, is, are, was, were 1
ex. am, is, are, was, were 1
am, is, are, was, were 2
ex. am, is, are, was, were 2

Level: intermediate

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

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

be in continuous and passive forms 1
ex. be in continuous and passive forms 1
be in continuous and passive forms 2
ex. be in continuous and passive forms 2

Level: advanced

We use some nouns with the verb be followed by a that clause:

The problem was that I had no money.
The obvious explanation is that he simply forgot.
The danger is that the whole thing might catch fire.
It's a pity that the children aren't here.
The lucky thing is that nobody was hurt.

Nouns commonly used in this way are:

answer
argument
assertion
belief
claim
explanation
feeling

hope
idea
(a) pity
rule
(a) shame
thing

 

We use some nouns with the verb be followed by a to-infinitive:

The only way is to start all over again.
His answer is to work a bit harder.
Her only hope was to find a new job as soon as possible.
The easiest thing would be to ask your father.

Nouns commonly used in this way are:

answer
decision
hope
idea
intention
promise
thing
way
wish

 

To comment on statements, we use some adjectives with it and the verb be and a that clause or wh-clause:

It's lucky that we met.
It's not clear what happened.
It was amazing how he managed to escape.

Adjectives commonly used in this way are:

awful
bad
clear
extraordinary
funny
good
interesting
lucky
obvious
possible
probable
sad
true
unlikely
be with nouns and adjectives 1
ex. be with nouns and adjectives 1
be with nouns and adjectives 2
ex. be with nouns and adjectives 2

Comments

Hello Oleg

In 1, it is a present participle and part of the present continuous verb 'am being'. In 2, it is a gerund, which here functions as the subject of the verb 'is'. 3 sounds a little unnatural to me, but here it seems to be a present participle functioning either as an adverb or an adjective -- I'm not sure which because I'm not completely sure what the sentence precisely means.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, KIrk. In 3 I meant 'always when he is being laughed at he keeps calm.)
All the best, Oleg

Hello Oleg

I think you'd have to explain it a bit more for that meaning to be clear, something like 'He keeps calm, even when being laughed at'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Kirk.

Hello English Team,

My son has written in an essay; "On Monday, the 31st of August." His English teacher has said that it should be corrected as "On Monday, August 31st".

I´m a bit confused about it. Please explain.

Thanks.

Hello Dona S,

There are several ways to express the date in English. Your son's way is correct but is generally used in speech rather than writing, and I imagine this is why the teacher corrected it.

You can read more about how the date is said and written on this page;

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/writing/dates

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I read two sentences as follows: "On the first day, we went to the Buckingham Palace" and, "On the first day, we went to Buckingham Place." I have a doubt whether it´s "to" or "to the" is correct. Please explain.

Thanks

Hello Dona

'to Buckingham Palace' is the best form to use here. Many buildings that have the name of their owner or builder in them (Buckingham Palace was named after Buckingham House, which was bought by the Duke of Buckingham) are not preceded by 'the', though there are many exceptions to this rule. Our definite articles page has more information on this topic in general if you're interested.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

thank you kirk.

Dear Sir,
Please kindly explain me what is the difference between?
“There is been an accident” and “An accident has happened”

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