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.








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

Hello PaolaO26,

This is an example of archaic language which we can find in old literature but which is not used in modern English. The form is the subjunctive and it is the same as the base form of the verb. In modern English it is rare but does occur after certain verbs. For example:

I suggested that he go.

She insisted that Paul be told the truth.

However, these are quite rare. In old forms of English the subjunctive was more common and was used after more verbs, including 'require' as in your example.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Sire!
I've been troubled with my writings lately and I have problem with this sentence,

"You were the only light that shone very brightly."

Is it grammatically correct? Or do I have to put V-ing after were.. Or what term should I use when I'm using "were"? Thank you so much!

Hello stdeandra,

The sentence is grammatically correct, but whether or not it is appropriate will depend upon the context. You could say '...the only light shining...' and ' brightly' but these are stylistic choices, not grammatical questions.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

1= tools of the palaeolithic types continued to be made . so sir i can not understand why is here sentence used = to be = word in sentence.

Hello birajmehta,

The construction here is a passive form of the infinitive:

continue to do (continue + to infinitive)

continue to be done (continue + passive infinitive)

You can read more about passive forms on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Should I test the feature to see whether the class will get cancelled after the 11th minute would pass?

Is this grammatically correct ? How could I express myself better in this situation? I know about the conditionals but I am not sure if I can use it in this situation or if I can I don't know how.

Hello Sash,

I'm actually not sure what you're trying to say here. The grammatical form you are using is not correct as we would not mix 'will' and 'would' in this way, but I don't understand the sentence you are trying to say, so it's hard to suggest how to say it. If you can explain what you mean then we can try to help.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I am trying to understand which is the subject +passive verb+ infinitive in this sentence
"A large number of contemporary Egyptian traditions are said to have their origons in very ancient times"
Please can you help me?

Hello Scarlett,

Generally we do not provide answers to exercises from elsewhere for our users as we simply have too many users to do so. However, I will tell you that the key here is that there is a very long subject ('A large number of contemporary Egyptian traditions') - once you identify this I think you can find the passive verb and infinitive.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team