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How to Use Helping Verb ‘to be’ for English

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Brief overview of the Helping Verb- ‘to be’

Helping verbs or Auxiliary verbs are used with the main verb to help us make different tenses in the English language. The primary helping/ auxiliary verbs are ' to be', 'to do', and 'to have'. Here we are going to discuss the helping verb ‘to be’ in more detail.

The verbs 'to be' and 'to have' are the most commonly used auxiliary verbs in English grammar and work alongside the main verbs in any statement.

All grammar rules for Helping Verb- ‘to be’

  1. The verb ‘to be’ is generally used to show the status or characteristics of something or someone. It says ‘what I am’, ‘what you are’ or ‘what something is’.

  2. Be’ is in fact the most common verb in the English language. It can be used as an auxiliary and a main verb. It is used a lot in its other forms as listed below-

  • Base form = be

  • Past form = was/were

  • Present form = am/is/are

  • Present Participle / Gerund = being

  • Past Participle = been

Sentence patterns for Helping Verb- ‘to be’

1. Present Simple Tense


  • I am a teacher

  • You are a student

  • He /She is a student

2. Simple Past Tense


  • I was a student

  • You were a student

  • He /She was a student

3. Future Simple Tense


  • I will be a student

  • You will be a teacher

  • He / She will be a teacher

  1. The verb phrase in any sentence can include a maximum of three helping Verbs.

  1. When used with the present participle of other verbs it describes actions that are or were still continuing - auxiliary verb be [+ ing] form of the main verb

In Present Continuous Tense


  • I am being silly

In Past Continuous Tense


  • I was being silly

2. With Am/Is/Are the verb ‘to be’ is used to create yes/no questions by inverting the order of subject and the “To be” verb.


  • I am an athlete. (Statement) Am I an athlete? (Question)

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