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To Be

What does the verb to be mean?
How to use the verb to be?
What are main and helping verbs?

Helping verb – to be


1) We use auxiliary verbs to form questions, negative sentences, compound tenses (the perfect tense or the continuous tense), or the passive voice. Auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs. They are used together with a main verb to give grammatical information and additional meaning to a sentence.

Although there are 23 helping verbs in English, which include modal verbs (can, must etc.), the basic auxiliary verbs are to be, to do, to have.

2) To be is the most common verb in English. It can be used as an auxiliary and a main verb.
My sister is kind. (main verb)
My sister is cooking dinner. (auxiliary verb; helps to build the present continuous tense)

Note that the verb to be is irregular.

Base form
To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Present form
I am a doctor, my brother is a teacher, and my cousins are bakers.
Past form
My friends were out partying all night, and I was studying for the exam.
Present Participle/Gerund
Being an affectionate person has helped him in life.
Past Participle
I have never been that happy!

You can use the auxiliary verb to be:

a) when you don't want to repeat something.

Everyone was working that day, but I wasn’t. (=I wasn’t working.)

b) to deny something or say that it is not true.

You’re being unreasonable. – No, I’m not. (=I’m not being unreasonable.)

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