The Highly Irregular “Be” Verb


The verb be has eight forms.

Base form: be
Past participle: been
Present participle: being
Present-tense forms: I am; he/she/it is; you/we/they are
Past-tense forms: I/he/she/it was; you/we/they were

Special uses:

Sometime used as the sentence’s primary verb meaning “exist”.

I think, therefore I am.

The be verb is also an auxiliary (helping) verb. It is used with the present participles of main verbs to form the progressive tenses. It is used with the past participles of main verbs to form the passive voice.

Progressive tense: Sylvia was dancing beautifully.
Passive voice: Charlie was given a ticket to the concert by Ed.

It is the most common linking verb which connects a subject to something asserted about the subject.

She is pretty.
We are supporters of the local hospital.

Occasionally, a form of the be verb is used as part of an adjective or a noun.

a would-be fashion photographer

a has-been
an American Idol wannabe (want to be)

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