The Verb To Be: Forms, Examples and Grammar Exercises

TableMeanings | Auxiliary Verb |Passive 
Progressive Forms | Perfect Forms | Exercises

The verb "to be" is one of the most common verbs in the English language. It has many different forms.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

The forms of the verb "to be"

When? Who? Form Example
Base form be It can be simple.
Simple Present I am I am here.
You are You are here.
He/She/It is She is here.
We are We are here.
They are They are here.
Simple Past I was I was here.
You were You were here.
He/She/It was She was here.
We were We were here.
They were They were here.
Simple Future I will be I will be here.
You will be You will be here.
He/She/It will be She will be here.
We will be We will be here.
They will be They will be here.
Progressive form being He is being unusual.
Perfect from been It has been fun.

The verb "to be" also has many different meanings.

The following are the most important ones.

The meanings of the verb "to be"

1. Exists.

There is a rabbit inside.
A rabbit

There is nothing in the fridge.

An empty fridge

There is a problem...

A problem

There is a difference.

Party kids

2. Happens.

The party is tonight.

A party

The meeting is down the hall.

A meeting

Come, it is over there.

Over there!

3. Located.

She is at school.

At school

She is home.

Sick at home

The food is on the table.

The food is on the table

4. Shows identity.

She is Alexis and this is Bob.

Alexis and Bob

He is a singer.

A singer

He is not a singer.

Not a singer...

5. Shows a quality.

She is beautiful.

A beautiful princess

It is stinky.

Something stinky

This is dangerous.

A shark

The verb "to be" as an auxiliary verb
(helping verb)

Auxiliary verbs are verbs that are used together with the main verb of the sentence to express the action or state.

Main verb + auxiliary verb = complete idea

The verb "to be" can be used as an auxiliary verb to express ongoing (continuing) actions.

For example:

Anna is eating a sandwich.

"Eating" = the main verb.

"Is" = an auxiliary (helping) verb.

"is eating" (a complete idea) = the eating is IN PROGRESS.

More examples:

Kayla is walking home with her friends.

Justin and Ethan are watching a movie.

I am trying to get some sleep.

The verb "to be" in passive sentences

The verb "to be" is used together with the third form of the verb (V3) in passive sentences.

For example:

ACTIVE: I eat an apple.

PASSIVE: The apple is eaten.

"Eaten" = the main verb (in the third form – V3).

"Is" = an auxiliary (helping) verb.

"is eaten" (a complete idea) = the subject of the sentence (the apple) is affected by the action.

More examples:

People buy cars. --> Cars are bought.

Someone turned on the light. --> The light was turned on.

He will clean the house. --> The house will be cleaned

Progressive Forms of the verb "to be"

The progressive form of the verb "to be" is "being."

This means the action is ongoing (continuing).


The little boy is being naughty.

She was being rude, but then she apologized.

They are being tricked.

Perfect Forms of the verb "to be"

The perfect form of the verb "to be" is "been."

This means the action is complete (finished).


The little boy has been naughty.

She has been rude, but now she apologizes.

They have been tricked.

Grammar Exercises

Exercise 01

Exercise 02

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