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

What are the functions of adjectives in different sentences ? Please give some examples. Love to you all.

Hello Ali Azam Russell,

You can find several pages on adjectives in the section on adjectives. Please note there is also a search box at the top right side of this page that you can use as well.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir .
i have got a question what the .
What is the difference between the following two sentences and why?

where are you going ? (1)
why you are in such a rush to find a job ? (2)

In the two examples above. verb (be) at first comes before subject but at second example it comes after subject Please explain it to me, I will be obliged to you

Hello naell,

The second sentence is not correct – it should start like this: 'Why are you in such a rush ...' So in both sentences, you have the same pattern: wh-word + auxiliary (or main verb) + subject pronoun.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you kirk

It's nice to share with you all regarding questions and answers.
Question: What is the basic difference between verb To Be and Principal verb? Could you please answer with easy examples ?

Hello Ali Azam Russell,

The principal verb in a sentence can be 'be' or any other verb (e.g. 'talk', 'go', etc.). 'be' is a very important verb because it can be used in so many ways – not only as a principal verb (e.g. 'My father is tall') but also as an auxiliary verb (e.g. 'My sister is coming to see me').

I hope this helps you. If you have another question, please feel free to ask it, but please make it as specific as possible.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir ,
I want to know which sentence is correct ? a or b
a: Richard and I was excited last night .
b: Richard and I were excited last night .

Hello aaminah,

The correct sentence is 'b'. Please note that normally we do not answer questions like this which may come from schoolwork or tests - that is not our job, I'm afraid!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir

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