July 21, 2024

Uses of Verb to be – is/are/am/was/were/been

Uses of Verb to be is used in various ways:

Present continuous tense (progressive actions -Form Of ‘To Be’ ):

Sub + is/are/am + m.v. + ing + object + etc.

He is telling a lie. You are not doing your work.
It is raining heavily today. Why is she not cooking food?
It is snowing in Kashmir. How are you playing today?
It is hailing in Punjab. Are they not getting my point?

Past continuous tense (past progressive sentences -Uses of Verb to be):

Subject + was/were + m.v. + ing + object + etc.

He was writing an E-mail. Why were they not solving the Sudoku puzzle?
She was asking me a question. You were making a mistake.

Future continuous tense (future progressive actions – Uses of Verb to be ):

Subject + will be + verb + ing + object + etc.

He will be going to market.
I won’t be facing the interview tomorrow.
You will be travelling by train the day after tomorrow.
You will be running at five in the morning.
  • Use of being
She was being honest. You are being polite.
They were being tough men. He was being intelligent.
They were being so nice to me. He is being intelligent. (he is trying to be intelligent but he is not).
He is being selfish. She is being harsh.
  • Going to be:
She is going to be a CEO. Was he going to be a teacher?
Is he going to be an architect soon? Is he going to be corrupt?
  • The past Form Of ‘To Be’
He became dishonest. He didn’t become a doctor.
She became selfish at that time. I didn’t become an IAS officer.
  • The perfect Form Of ‘To Be’- been

Subject + has/have + been + complement (qualities, states and occupations)

Present perfect – Uses of Verb to be:

He has been intelligent.     She has become a photographer.
He has been a software engineer. Has she become a journalist?
He has become a poet. Or has she been a journalist?

Note: in the given above sentence ‘been’ has used as a main verb which is equal to become. 

Future perfect – Uses of Verb to be:

Subject + will have + been/become + complement (qualities, states and occupations)

He will have been/become a bank PO. He will have been a modal very soon.
He will have been a pilot. I will have been proficient in yoga.
You will have been rich next year.  She will have been a doctor.
  • ‘Form Of ‘To Be’ in the future:
He will be a scientist. (surety of being a scientist) She might be an architect.  (20 to 30 % of becoming an architect).
He may be a doctor.  (50 to 60 % surety of becoming a doctor) She must be an architect. (a strong feeling of future to be an architect.).
  • Form Of ‘To Be’ is used with modal verbs
She may be intelligent. She could be smart.
She might be smart. She should be smart.
She must be smart. You shouldn’t be harsh.
Infinitive-Uses of Verb to be
She needs to become a government servant. He is able to become IAS.
She has to be polite before her boss. He was able to become a singer.
You have to be strict for the sake of kids. He will be able to be a good YouTuber.
He is to become a policeman. They are to be surgeons.

Progressive structure of modal verbsUses of Verb to be:

Work going on

He will be facing the interview tomorrow. (95 to 100 % surety of facing the interview tomorrow)
He may be facing the interview tomorrow. (50 to 60 % surety of facing the interview)
He might be facing the interview tomorrow. (20 to 40 % surety of facing the interview)
  He must be facing the interview tomorrow. (he needs a job anyhow therefore up to 100 % surety of facing the interview)
He should be facing the interview tomorrow. (sentence conveys the suggestion of facing interview)
He could be facing the interview tomorrow. (possibility of facing the interview at this time)
He must be weeping. She should be joking.
She may be joking.  He must be begging.

Want to be:

Does he want to be an MLA? He wants to be a business person.
Who wants to be a navy officer? I don’t want to be selfish.
I want to be an IAS officer. He didn’t want to be a constable in UP police.
She wants to be an air hostess. I didn’t want to be a ticket collector.
They want to be civil engineers.  My father doesn’t want me to be a teacher.

Would like to be: feeling of preference

I would like to be an athlete. I would like to be a soldier in the Indian Army.


Present indefinite tense:

Object + is/are/am + verb III + by subject.

Active Passive
He learns Spanish. Spanish is learned by him.
She doesn’t scold you. You are not scolded by her.

Past indefinite:

Object+ was/were + verb III + by Sub.

Active Passive
You cheated us. We were cheated by you.
They won the match. The match was won by them.
Did you speak the truth? Was the truth spoken by you?

Present continuous tense:

Object + is/are/am + being + verb III + by subject.

Active Passive
He is reading a newspaper now. A newspaper is being read now by him.
She is not mopping the floor. The floor is not being mopped by her.
Rahul is brushing the hair. The hair is being brushed by Rahul.

Past continuous tense

Object + was/were + being + m.v. III + by Subject.

Active Passive
He was preparing coffee. Coffee was being prepared by him.
The cashier was not counting money then. Money was not being counted then by a cashier.
A child was polishing the shoes at the traffic light. The shoes were being polished at the traffic light.

Object + will be + action III

He will be scolded by his father. She will be punished.
He will be sent to a hostel. They will be fired.

Imperative sentences – Form Of ‘To Be’:

Let + object + be + verb III

Active: Open the door.
Passive: Let the door be opened.

Note: other various types of uses of ‘be’ in passive can be seen in the voice chapter.

 Has to be/have to be:

She has to be selfish. I have to be strict.

Note: Become’

It means to be involved in a process of changing one state to another state. This soil is soft. It is changing. It has become hard Delhi is polluted. Air is contaminated. And it is becoming a more polluted city across India.


It tells the state or condition what the thing or person it is. It means that exists and is unchanged.


He is smart. She is happy.
You are brave. She is honest.

Exercise I (Uses of Verb to be)

Write the perfect Form Of ‘To Be’


Have they ever  …been… to Italy before? No, they …have.. never been to Italy before.

  1.   ….. he ever been to Australia? No, he has never …….. to Australia.
  2.   …… you ever been to the U.A.E.  before? We’ve never …….. to U.A.E. before.
  3.   ……. She ever been to Kashmir before? Yes, he has …….. to Kashmir before.
  4.  Has he ever …… to Bikaner? No, he has never …. to Bikaner.
  5.  Have they ever ……… to Haridwar? Yes, they have several times ……… to Haridwar.

Exercise II (Uses of Verb to be)

Choose appropriate words which are connected The Verb ‘To Be’ ’.

Example:   …Is…  she being selfish? She is …being… Selfish.

  1. She is very talented. She ……….. selected.   (may be, might be, must be)
  2. He has a good memory. He …….. learn these vocabularies.      (may be, must be, might)
  3. You are not very fast at running.  You ……….. winner in the race competition.   (might be, should be, must be)
  4. He is a quick learner. I suggest that He ……… promoted.  ( should be, could be, would be)
  5. He is good at the grammar of English. He ………. selected in an English competition.  (must be, could be, might be, may be)
  6.  She ………. Like to be an air hostess. (would, will, should, might)
  7. He wants ……… an artist.  (become, to be, to became)
  8. Did you ……… an actor? (wanted to be, want to be,  want be)
  9. He may be ……….. at this time.  (run, running, ran)
  10. She has put on a nurse dress. She ……… be a nurse. (could be, must be, will be)
Exercise III (Uses of Verb to be) – Choose the appropriate verb
  1. He must ………. Smart. (be, been, became)
  2. He has to……… strict.  (be, became, been)
  3. She needs …….. smart for surviving in this world. (to be, be, been)
  4. Did she dare ……… a dacoit.  (to be, be, been)
  5. Will she have ………..an air hostess? (been, became, be)
  6. He has ……….. an architect.  (become, be, became)
  7. Rahul ……….. a boxer.  (become, be, became)
  8. is she going to ……. a government teacher? (be, became, been)
  9. He is ……… brave.   (been, become, be, being)
  10. He was …….. intelligent.  (been, become, be, being)
  11. He will …….. an IAS officer.  (be, became, been)
  12. Let the shop ……. . (be open, be opened, been opened)
  13. ………. Polite.      (be, been, became)
  14. don’t …… harsh.  (be, been, became)
  15. the institute will …….. . (be closed, be close, been closed)
  16. Chocolates are being ………. to kids.  ( distribute, distributed, be distributed)
  17. He was ……….. by his teacher.  ( being scold, been scolded, be scolded, being scolded)
  18. He has ………… by his friends. ( been saved, been save, be saved)
  19. I found that my keys ……… left on the desk. (have been, had been, will have been)
  20. Dance ……. taught here.  (is, are, has, had)
  21. He ……… writing a novel. L  (is/are/am)
  22. She ……… reading a book.   (was/were/will)
  23. They will  …….. studying at night.  ( be, been, become)
  24. Man …… mortal.   (is/are/am)
  25. Have you ever ………. to Kota?  (gone, went, been)

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