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

Thank you very much Kirk.

Best regards,

Dona

hello !! can you help me???
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help me fix my mistake about grammar... thank you very much

Hello Diakay Phan,

I'm afraid we don't correct texts like this one – we are simply too small a team with too much work to be able to offer this service.

If you have a specific question about a specific sentence, however, please ask us, telling us as much as you can about what you're uncertain of, and we'll do our best to help you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, why into the section: Gradable adjective at the sentence number 4 there is written:
I'm a bit on late,AREN'T I?... Is it a mistake? In this case hours do you write it?

Hello Fernando,

Yes, that is correct. It's called a question tag – you can find more information about this on the page linked to and also in the video on our Snowdon 1 Language Focus page.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi English Team,

What´s the correct meanning of "where are you up to," as I have heard it somewhere.

Thanks & regards,

Hello Dona,

That doesn't make sense to me with 'where', but 'what are you up to?' is an extremely common way of asking what someone is doing. You can see a definition and examples in the dictionary by searching for 'be up to sth' (sth=something).

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
As you explain the meaning of "What are you up to".
I wanted to ask you if there is any special way to answer this question?
I mean it's a bit different question than "what are you doing?" ( may be just in saying rather than in meaning.) So there should be a different phrase to start the answer of this question.
Thanks

Hello munish,

No, there's no special way to answer 'What are you up to?', though of course your answer should involve some kind of activity, as the question is essentially a question about what you're doing – it can be what you're doing right at the moment or what you're doing in general these days, and you can only know which from context. You could say, for example, 'I'm studying', 'I'm busy with work', 'Not much'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi English Team,

Please explain to me the difference between "your value" and "value of you."

Thanks n regards,

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