TO BE (and “Not To Be”)

THE VERB ‘BE’

AM/IS/ARE         WAS/WERE         BEEN         BEING

Here’s a complete conjugation of the verb “To Be” or “Be”.
It is the most commonly used verb in the English language, the first one you learn at your very first English lesson – but it is easily the most complicated and irregular verb of all.

Usually the rule for English verbs is: 3ps=’s’ (third person singular takes ‘s’) but with the verb ‘be’ you will notice that the first person singular is sometimes different too (am, was) and also cannot always be shortened like the rest of the tense.

Also notice that not all forms have short forms and many stay the same all the way through – especially the future tenses. Look carefully through the tenses to find examples of this.

Make sure you learn the Question and Negative forms just as well as you learn the Affirmative. If you know the verb ‘be’ really well then you can make the progressive tenses and the passive forms really easily. Many people never really learn these forms very well and they lose a lot of important marks in exams because of it.

When you know this really well go through the page and see if you know how to make the same tense for the verbs do, walk, break, have and go. Watch out! There are some big differences in the Question and Negative forms of the Present Simple. What are they?

PRESENT SIMPLE

I am, you are, he is, she is, it is, we are, you (pl) are, they are

or:

I’m, you’re, he’s, she’s, it’s, we’re, you’re, they’re

Am I? are you? is he? is she? is it? are we? are you (pl) are they?

I am not, you are not, he is not, she is not, it is not, we are not, you (pl) are not, they are not

or:

I am not, you aren’t, he isn’t, she isn’t, it isn’t, we aren’t, you (pl) aren’t, they aren’t

or:

I’m not, you’re not, he’s not, she’s not, it’s not, we’re not, you’re (pl) not, they’re not

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE

I am being, you are being, he is being, she is being, it is being, we are being, you (pl) are being, they are being

or

I’m being, you’re being, he’s being, she’s being, it’s being, we’re being, you’re being, they’re being

Am I being? are you being? is he being? is she being? is it being? are we being? are you (pl) being, are they being?

I am not being, you aren’t being, he isn’t being, she isn’t being, it isn’t being, we aren’t being, you (pl) aren’t being, they aren’t being

or:

I’m not being, you’re not being, he’s not being, she’s not being, it’s not being, we’re not being, you’re (pl) not being, they’re not being

PAST SIMPLE

I was, you were, he was, she was, it was, we were, you were, they were

Was I? were you? was he? was she? was it? were we? were you? were they?

I was not, you were not, he was not, she was not, it was not, we were not, you were not, they were not

or

I wasn’t, you weren’t, he wasn’t, she wasn’t, it wasn’t, we weren’t, you weren’t, they weren’t

PAST PROGRESSIVE

I was being, you were being, he was being, she was being, it was being, we were being, you were being, they were being

Was I being? were you being? was he being? was she being? was it being? were we being? were you being? were they being?

I was not being, you were not being, he was not being, she was not being, it was not being, we were not being, you were not being, they were not being

or

I wasn’t being, you weren’t being, he wasn’t being, she wasn’t being, it wasn’t being, we weren’t being, you weren’t being, they weren’t being

FUTURE SIMPLE

I will be, you will be, he will be, she will be, it will be, we will be, you will be, they will be

or:

I’ll be, you’ll be, he’ll be, she’ll be, it’ll be, we’ll be, you’ll be, they’ll be

will I be? will you be? will he be? will she be? will it bev will we be? will you be? will they be?

I will not be, you will not be, he will not be, she will not be, it will not be, we will not be, you will not be, they will not be

or

I won’t be, you won’t be, he won’t be, she won’t be, it won’t be, we won’t be, you won’t be, they won’t be

FUTURE PROGRESSIVE

I will be being, you will be being, he will be being, she will be being, it will be being, we will be being, you will be being, they will be being

or:

I’ll be being, you’ll be being, he’ll be being, she’ll be being, it’ll be being, we’ll be being, you’ll be being, they’ll be being

will I be being? will you be being? will he be being? will she be being? will it be being? will we be being? will you be being? will they be being?

I will not be being, you will not be being, he will not be being, she will not be being, it will not be being, we will not be being, you will not be being, they will not be being

or

I won’t be being, you won’t be being, he won’t be being, she won’t be being, it won’t be being, we won’t be being, you won’t be being, they won’t be being

PERFECT TENSES

PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE

I have been, you have been, he has been, she has been, it has been, we have been, you have been, they have been

or

I’ve been, you’ve been, he’s been, she’s been, it’s been, we’ve been, you’ve been, they’ve been

have I been? have you been? has he been? has she been? has it been? have we been? have you been? have they been?

I have not been, you have not been, he has not been, she has not been, it has not been, we have not been, you have not been, they have not been

or

I haven’t been, you haven’t been, he hasn’t been, she hasn’t been, it hasn’t been, we haven’t been, you haven’t been, they haven’t been

PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

I have been being, you have been being, he has been being, she has been being, it has been being, we have been being, you have been being, they have been being

or

I’ve been being, you’ve been being, he’s been being, she’s been being, it’s been being, we’ve been being, you’ve been being, they’ve been being

have I been being? have you been being? has he been being? has she been being? has it been being? have we been being? have you been being? have they been being?

I have not been being, you have not been being, he has not been being, she has not been being, it has not been being, we have not been being, you have not been being, they have not been being

or

I haven’t been being, you haven’t been being, he hasn’t been being, she hasn’t been being, it hasn’t been being, we haven’t been being, you haven’t been being, they haven’t been being

PAST PERFECT SIMPLE

I had been, you had been, he had been, she had been, it had been, we had been, you had been, they had been

or

I’d been, you’d been, he’d been, she’d been, it’d been, we’d been, you’d been, they’d been

had I been? had you been? had he been? had she been? had it been? had we been? had you been? had they been?

I had not been, you had not been, he had not been, she had not been, it had not been, we had not been, you had not been, they had not been

I hadn’t been, you hadn’t been, he hadn’t been, she hadn’t been, it hadn’t been, we hadn’t been, you hadn’t been, they hadn’t been

(you might also find the forms: I’d not been, you’d not been etc)

PAST PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

I had been being, you had been being, he had been being, she had been being, it had been being, we had been being, you had been being, they had been being

or

I’d been being, you’d been being, he’d been being, she’d been being, it’d been being, we’d been being, you’d been being, they’d been being

had I been being? had you been being? had he been being? had she been being? had it been being? had we been being? had you been being? had they been being?

I had not been being, you had not been being, he had not been being, she had not been being, it had not been being, we had not been being, you had not been being, they had not been being

or

I hadn’t been being, you hadn’t been being, he hadn’t been being, she hadn’t been being, it hadn’t been being, we hadn’t been being, you hadn’t been being, they hadn’t been being

(you might also find the forms: I’d not been being, you’d not been being etc)

FUTURE PERFECT SIMPLE

I will have been, you will have been, he will have been, she will have been, it will have been, we will have been, you will have been, they will have been,

or

Ill have been, youll have been, hell have been, shell have been, itll have been, well have been, youll have been, theyll have been,

will I have been? will you have been? will he have been? will she have been? will it have been? will we have been? will you have been? will they have been?

I will not have been, you will not have been, he will not have been, she will not have been, it will not have been, we will not have been, you will not have been, they will not have been

or

I won’t have been, you won’t have been, he won’t have been, she won’t have been, it won’t have been, we won’t have been, you won’t have been, they won’t have been

FUTURE PERFECT PROGRESSIVE (these ones are very unusual and a bit difficult to think of examples for!)

I will have been being, you will have been being, he will have been being, she will have been being, it will have been being, we will have been being, you will have been being, they will have been being,

or

I’ll have been being, you’ll have been being, he’ll have been being, she’ll have been being, it’ll have been being, we’ll have been being, you’ll have been being, they’ll have been being

will I have been being? will you have been being? will he have been being? will she have been being? will it have been being? will we have been being? will you have been being? will they have been being?

I will not have been being, you will not have been being, he will not have been being, she will not have been being, it will not have been being, we will not have been being, you will not have been being, they will not have been being

or

I won’t have been being, you won’t have been being, he won’t have been being, she won’t have been being, it won’t have been being, we won’t have been being, you won’t have been being, they won’t have been being

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2 thoughts on “TO BE (and “Not To Be”)

  1. Truely nice seeing the pages long after school days. In fact i was searching for guidelines for usages on was, has been , had been etc. Very grateful if u could leave line. Than q.

  2. Hello Arun
    In much haste – sadly I have very little time to spare for this blog these days – have a look at this page for a quick revision of use of tenses:

    http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/tenses-examples

    The same site has lots of exercises:
    http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar

    And this might help also:

    http://www.eslgold.com/grammar/correct_verb_tense.html

    This is also very useful:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/verbs.htm#tense

    Hope that helps. Thank you for visiting!

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