The verb ‘to be’ (Different Forms)
The Verb ‘to be’ (Different Forms)
What are the different forms of ‘to be’?
Most verbs in English have 5 different forms, but the verb ‘to be’ actually has 8 forms:
- be, is, am, are, was, were, been and being
To learn about is, am and are, click the link above. The rest of this page is about the other different forms of ‘to be’.
- the infinitive form.
1. With ‘to’:
Example: It’s important to be professional.
Example: I don’t have to be there until 8 o’clock.
Example: Why do you want to be a teacher?
2. Without ‘to’:
Example: I’ll be the judge of that.
Example: You cannot be serious!
Example: Could you please be quiet?
- To talk about the past.
1. If the subject is ‘I‘, a ‘he‘, a ‘she‘ or an ‘it‘, then be becomes ‘was‘.
Example: I was the best player on the pitch.
Example: Fernando was from Peru, but he could understand Italian quite easily.
Example: Phoebe was reading her mail when she suddenly remembered the toast.
Example: The house was in need of repair.
2. If the subject is ‘you‘, a ‘we‘ or a ‘they‘, be becomes ‘were‘.
Example: You were being quite rude, actually.
Example: We were walking through the forest when we saw a bear.
Example: Those clothes were in fashion last year, but nobody wears them anymore.
Past Simple Forms
|Positive Form||Negative Form||Question Form|
- For perfect tenses.
1. With ‘have’:
Example: They’ve been playing for about 3 hours.
Example: No, I haven’t been there before.
Example: Where else have you been this morning?
2. With ‘had’:
Example: Jack and Jill had been married for 2 years when they had their first baby.
Example: I hadn’t been swimming before, but I tried to act like I knew what I was doing.
Example: Had you been there before, or was it your first time?
- The past participle form.
Example: Could you try being a bit quieter, please.
Example: She isn’t being very helpful.
Example: Do you like being in this class?