Home ESL Teacher English “To Be” Verbs: Full Information to Mastering the Irregular Verb

English “To Be” Verbs: Full Information to Mastering the Irregular Verb

English “To Be” Verbs: Full Information to Mastering the Irregular Verb


Do you know that the verb to be is essentially the most ceaselessly used English verb?

This shouldn’t be a shock. In any case, due to this verb we will achieve this many vital issues in English!

There’s only one drawback: to be can be essentially the most irregular verb in English.

All through this submit, you’ll get an opportunity to study all of the totally different English to be verb kinds and how one can use them. Additionally, you will see some particular makes use of of this verb and several other expressions that embody it.


Introducing To Be: The Fundamentals

To be is essentially the most irregular verb within the English language.

To be has remained irregular for hundreds of years (thanks, Outdated English!).


To be has a complete of eight totally different “personalities.” Relying on the place of this verb within the sentence, the individual we’re referring to or the time the motion takes place, you’ll have to use one or one other:

  • Be — Use be once we confer with the verb normally (as in “the verb to be is essential”) and with sure compound tenses (you’ll find out about this later within the submit).
  • Am/Is/Are — As you will note within the subsequent part, these are the three current tense types of to be. Am is for the primary individual singular (I’m), is is for the third individual singular (he’s, she is, it’s) and are is for the primary individual plural (we’re), the second individual singular and plural (you’re) and the third individual plural (they’re).
  • Was/Had been — These two verb kinds are used for the previous tense. Was is used for the primary and the third individual singular (I used to be, he was, she was, it was), whereas had been is for the primary individual plural (we had been), the second individual singular and plural (you had been) and the third individual plural (they had been).
  • Being Being is the current participle of the verb to be. You’ll primarily see it in steady tenses (I’m being, she was being) and as a topic in sentences (“Being a polyglot is a superb asset.”).
  • Been Been is the previous participle of this verb. It’s utilized in excellent tenses.

The subsequent few sections will introduce every type of to be and inform you when and how one can use them correctly.

Current Easy: All About Locations, Individuals and Issues

The current easy of the verb to be appears like this:

I am
You are
He/She/It is
We are
You are
They are

Use the current easy of the verb to be whenever you wish to:

1. Inform your or another person’s age.

I am 27.

She is 15 and her brother is 17.

2. Discuss nationalities.

I am Spanish.

We are from Mexico.

3. Discuss professions and occupations.

My sister is a nurse.

Each my neighbors are dentists.

4. Describe folks, issues or locations.

The home is very large.

You are tall and skinny.

5. Say the place you or another person is.

I am residence.

She is at college.

I all the time inform my college students that the verb to be is kind of egotistical. It likes to do the whole lot by itself.

Which means with a view to construct detrimental sentences within the current easy, you solely have so as to add not after the verb kinds:

I am not a scholar.
You are not (aren’t) from Poland.
She is not (isn’t) from Argentina.
We are not (aren’t) prepared.
You are not (aren’t) my dad and mom.
They are not (aren’t) medical doctors.

If you need to make questions, simply use inversion (swap the individual and the verb kind):

Am I actually so annoying?
Are you from Venezuela?
Is he/she/it previous?
Are we pleased?
Are you a part of the workforce?
Are they firefighters?

Current Steady: Behaving Improperly

The current steady of the verb to be is shaped by simply including being to the current easy:

This tense will not be used as typically as the current easy as a result of to be will not be very pleased in steady tenses, however its use is kind of vital. Use it when it is advisable to:

1. Say that somebody’s habits will not be regular for them or that somebody will not be behaving correctly.

You are being so impolite right now!

We are being very demanding since you failed the final check.

In relation to negation and questions, to be behaves like within the current easy.

For detrimental sentences, it simply provides not:

I am not being foolish.
You are not (aren’t) being your self!
He/She/It is not (isn’t) being naughty.
We are not (aren’t) being the very best siblings.
You are not (aren’t) being useful.
They are not (aren’t) being good in any respect.

For questions, simply use the inversion:

Am I being affordable right here?
Are you being foolish once more?
Is he/she/it being good sufficient?
Are we being thoughtful?
Are you being naughty youngsters?
Are they being their finest selves?

The Previous Easy: How Issues Had been Earlier than

The previous easy of to be could be very easy:

I was
You had been
He/She/It was
We had been
You had been
They had been

Use the previous easy of to be to:

1. Inform your or another person’s age prior to now.

This implies you can be referring to a previous state of affairs or possibly a deceased individual:

I was 5 after I began studying English.

He was 25 when the accident occurred.

2. Describe previous occasions and other people, objects or locations prior to now.

It was a really lovely morning.

He was indignant at his father.

The homes had been large.

3. Discuss previous professions.

She was a nurse earlier than she grew to become a social employee.

My grandpa was an architect.

4. Inform the place somebody or one thing was prior to now.

He was within the park all morning.

I was residence when she known as.

5. Discuss nationalities prior to now.

Grandma was Irish.

The most effective wine I drank was from France.


With the intention to make detrimental sentences, simply add not:

I was not (wasn’t) there yesterday.
You had been not (weren’t) very good to Martha.
He/She/It was not (wasn’t) Polish.
We had been not (weren’t) college students on the time.
You had been not (weren’t) in time for the celebration.
They had been not (weren’t) so tall final yr.

For questions, use inversion as common:

Was I in the proper place?
Had been you content?
Was he/she/it from Peru?
Had been we collectively again then?
Had been you residence final evening?
Had been they good or naughty?

Previous Steady: Out of the Peculiar within the Previous

The previous steady of to be is shaped by including being to the previous easy of the verb:

As with the current steady, it’s not very generally used. Use it whenever you wish to:

1. Say somebody had an irregular, out-of-the-ordinary or bothersome habits prior to now.

I was simply being foolish.

They had been being rude. That’s the reality.

Negation is, as soon as once more, shaped by including not:

I was not (wasn’t) being impolite.
You had been not (weren’t) being your self.
He/She/It was not (wasn’t) being useful.
We had been not (weren’t) being good to her.
You had been not (weren’t) being the very best neighbors.
They had been not (weren’t) being themselves.

For questions, use inversion:

Was I being impolite?
Had been you being your self?
Was he/she/it being useful?
Had been we being good to her?
Had been you being good neighbors?
Had been they being themselves?

Current Good: Began within the Previous Now We’re Right here

The current excellent of to be makes use of to have and the previous participle been:

We use this tense when we have to:

1. Discuss conditions, occasions, careers, and many others., that began prior to now and final till right now or have just lately ended.

She has been a nurse for 20 years.

It has been a catastrophe since then.

The journey has been superb.

2. Discuss being or having been in a spot.

He has been to Spain 3 times.

I have been right here for 2 hours.

3. Say somebody has not visited (or been to) a spot but.

This sort of sentences usually makes use of by no means:

I have by no means been to Italy.

They have by no means been right here.


Adverse sentences are constructed by including not to the verb to have:

I have not (haven’t) been utterly trustworthy with you.
You have not (haven’t) been to Spain but.
He/She/It has not (hasn’t) been pleased ever since.
We have not (haven’t) been there this yr.
You have not (haven’t) been the very best dad and mom.
They have not (haven’t) been to an airport earlier than.

As for questions, swap the individual and the verb type of to have:

Have I been utterly trustworthy?
Have you been to Spain?
Has he/she/it been pleased for the reason that accident?
Have we been there?
Have you been good dad and mom?
Have they been to an airport earlier than?

Previous Good: Began within the Previous and Stayed There

The previous excellent of to be is tremendous easy. It makes use of had been in each individual. Take a look:

I unhealthy
You had been
He/She/It had been
We had been
You had been
They had been

Use this tense whenever you wish to:

1. Discuss conditions and occasions that occurred earlier than different previous occasions.

I had been a instructor for 20 years after I retired.

He had been there for 3 hours earlier than her girlfriend arrived.

2. To explain folks, objects and locations prior to now.

Keep in mind the state of affairs described with the previous excellent needed to occur earlier than one other state of affairs:

It had been a really lovely place prior to now, however the home appeared utterly deserted.

The previous man had been actually busy all morning. When his household arrived, he was already drained.

3. To say that one thing had not occurred earlier than however now it has.

This could be stunning, however here’s what it appears like:

I had by no means been to London earlier than. (This implies you’re in London in the meanwhile otherwise you simply got here again from there.)

John had by no means been in love till he met Silvia. (This implies he truly fell in love with Silvia once they met, however was by no means in love earlier than that.)

It is rather fascinating to see this use of the previous excellent in distinction with the current excellent:

I have by no means been to Puerto Rico. (Nonetheless, to at the present time, I’ve not traveled there.)

I had by no means been to Puerto Rico earlier than. (The speaker has now been to Puerto Rico!)

If the current excellent is used to say you haven’t been to a spot or one thing has not occurred but, the previous excellent will not be essentially a past-before-past occasion or description. This tense simply tells us that the current excellent sentence is not true. The state of affairs has modified, and we have now now been to that place or the state of affairs is now actual:

Mary has by no means been married. (She will not be married.)

Mary had by no means been married earlier than. (She is now married for the primary time.)

As with the remainder of the tenses, detrimental sentences prior to now excellent are constructed by simply including not:

I had not (hadn’t) been there earlier than.
You had not (hadn’t) been fats earlier than you met him.
He/She/It had not (hadn’t) been so naughty till we moved final yr.
We had not (hadn’t) been to Montevideo earlier than.
You had not (hadn’t) been there earlier than the incident occurred.
They had not (hadn’t) been there for lengthy when Carlo confirmed up.

Questions are shaped with using inversion:

Had I been there earlier than?
Had you been fats earlier than you met him?
Had he/she/it been naughty earlier than we moved final yr?
Had we been to Montevideo earlier than?
Had you been there earlier than the incident occurred?
Had they been there for lengthy earlier than Carlo confirmed up?

Future Easy: Issues That Will Occur

The longer term easy of to be is one other very straightforward tense to study as a result of it makes use of shall be in each individual:

I shall be
You shall be
He/She/It shall be
We shall be
You shall be
They shall be

We use the long run easy to:

1. Discuss age and professions sooner or later.

He shall be 18 subsequent month.

I shall be a firefighter after I develop up.

2. Predict how one thing or somebody will look or really feel sooner or later.

It shall be the tallest constructing within the metropolis when it’s completed.

He shall be very pleased there.

3. Say somebody shall be someplace sooner or later.

I shall be at college at eight.

She shall be residence quickly.

To kind detrimental sentences, simply add not to will:

I will not (received’t) be right here tomorrow.
You will not (received’t) be pleased there.
He/She/It will not (received’t) be in London by Monday.
We will not (received’t) be on the cinema by then.
You will not (received’t) be residence after I arrive.
They will not (received’t) be stunned.

Questions are, as soon as once more, shaped by utilizing inversion:

Will I be right here tomorrow?
Will you be pleased there?
Will he/she/it be in London by Monday?
Will we be on the cinema by then?
Will you be residence after I arrive?
Will they be stunned?

Particular types of To Be: Past the Tenses

You now know the principle to be tenses and the way they’re used. However there’s a lot extra to find out about this verb!

The next “specials” are conditions through which the verb to be is utilized in particular methods.

Stative vs. Dynamic Types

The verb to be will not be seen in its steady kind (-ing ending) fairly often and when it does, it will get some very particular meanings as I discussed earlier than.

Let’s take this sentence:

Anna is very useful.

We’ve got a sentence within the current easy, which implies we’re describing Anna. She is all the time useful, that’s her nature. That is what we name a stative type of the verb to be.

Now take a look on the similar sentence however within the current steady:

Anna is being very useful.

Hastily, Anna will not be a useful individual on a regular basis, simply this time. In the present day she helps, however she usually doesn’t. That is the dynamic type of the verb.

We will additionally use the excellence of stative/dynamic once we wish to complain about somebody or one thing:

Peter talks an excessive amount of. (Stative. It is a description, a press release.)

Peter is speaking an excessive amount of. (Dynamic. It is a grievance. He’s being too talkative right now.)

Query Tags

Query tags are little “tails” added on the finish of a sentence. They’ve the type of a query, and they’re usually used once we are on the lookout for one other individual to provide their opinion or agree with us.

If the principle verb of a sentence is to be, likely the query tag can even embody a type of this verb:

You’re very pleased right here, aren’t you?

She isn’t pregnant, is she?

They had been fooling around, weren’t they?

To Be and Adverbs: Phrase Order

Merely put, adverbs are phrases that modify (change) adjectives, verbs or different adverbs, they usually give details about place, time, method, and trigger, amongst others.

As a rule, bear in mind so as to add adverbs after the verb to be:

I am all the time pleased.

She isn’t drained.

The home continues to be on sale.

Our neighbor is seldom residence.

Nevertheless, if there’s a participle within the sentence (being or been), it’s best to add the adverb between the conjugated verb and the participle:

Mary has all the time been pleased right here.

They have by no means been right here.

She continues to be being naughty!

Modal Verbs and the Passive Voice

This submit doesn’t cowl modal verbs intimately, however it’s value mentioning that the verb to be might be added between a modal and the previous participle of a verb:

These partitions ought to be painted already.

It will probably’t be discovered wherever.

As a matter of truth (in actuality), sentences that embody “a modal verb + be + a previous participle” are passive sentences. Listed here are two extra examples of the passive voice with be:

He ought to be punished.

John could be injured.

Nevertheless, passive sentences don’t all the time want to incorporate a modal verb, solely the suitable type of the verb to be:

He was being carried.

The home has been bought.

We had been instructed to not discuss an excessive amount of.

The Crucial: To Be Instructions

Chances are you’ll already know that we use the crucial primarily for instructions and directions.

What you might not know but is that we will additionally use the verb to be for this. Take a look at some examples:

Be quiet! / Don’t be so noisy!

Be humble! / Don’t be so boastful!

Be my girlfriend, please.

Don’t be foolish!

If you wish to study extra about giving instructions in English, you’ll be able to try this video

Expressions That Use To Be

We’ve got discovered an entire lot in regards to the verb to be to date, however this submit wouldn’t be full with no record of expressions that use the verb to be in them.

It could be unimaginable to incorporate all of them right here, so beneath, we have now listed a very powerful/frequent ones:


Phew! That was an extended submit!

Nevertheless, you now have all the data it is advisable to use the verb to be like a local speaker of English.

When learning this verb, observe the order through which the content material of this submit is introduced. It will get increasingly tough as you go, but it surely has been divided into smaller chunks (smaller components) to make your research a little bit bit much less annoying.

To be, or to not be. That’s the query.

And the reply is each!

Keep curious, my mates, and as all the time, pleased studying!