be is on the Basic English 850 List.
bath - be - beautiful
be is one of the 1000 most common headwords.
basis - be - bear
be is on the New General Service List.

Pronunciation change

Verb change

Plain form

am, is, are

was, were

Past participle

Present participle


None, isn't, aren't

wasn't, weren't




'm, 's, 're




  1. (auxiliary) (linking) This verb tells us that a thing is present, or in a place.
    The book is on the table.
    There was someone in the room.
    Were you at the party?
  2. (auxiliary) (linking) Happen.
    The party was on Saturday.
    The next meeting will be here.
  3. (auxiliary) Go somewhere; visit someone (only in the perfect tense).
    I've never been to Disneyland.
  4. (auxiliary) (linking) A verb we use when describing.
    The book is blue.
    They were sad about losing the match.
    John is 35 years old this year.
    I'm fine.
    He'd like to be a doctor.
    The film was terrible!
    The book is 5 euro.
  5. (auxiliary) (linking) Act like someone or something.
    Look, Mummy! I'm being a dog! Woof, woof!
  6. (auxiliary) We use a form of be and a gerund-participle to make progressive aspect.
    He is sitting on the chair.
    I've been waiting for half an hour.
    They will be leaving on Tuesday.

Verb forms change

  • Present simple: I am, you are, he is, she is, it is, we are, you are, they are
  • Past simple: I was, you were, he was, she was, we were, you were, they were
  • Past participle: been
  • Present participle: being

Related words change