How do I make the verb ‘To be’?

When conjugating the verb to be, we often remember Shakespeare – who offers us an excellent example of the verb to be, one of the best-known verbs.

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

We use the to be to show something that exists, something that happens, what something is or where something is located. It can also show a quality.

6 Tense Forms of ‘to be’

Noun Base Form Simple Present Simple Past Simple Future Progressive Perfect

to be      

I am was will be being have been
he/she/it is was will be being has been
you/we/they are were will be being have been

When we want to indicate that something must be done in the future, we might say:

  • The dishes are to be washed promptly after each meal.

We save on words, however, if we just use the simple future form of to be:

  • The dishes will be washed promptly after each meal.

Here are some examples of sentences that use the verb to be in different forms:

Examples of making To Be

Simple Present

·       I am Groot.

·       She is studying now.

·       It is raining.

·       We are going to the pub.

·       You are the bees’ knees.

·       They are watching us.

Simple Past ·       I was calling you for hours.

·       He was a man of honour.

·       It was snowing half the morning.

·       We were going to go skiing.

·       You were telling a joke.

·       They were traveling half the night.

Simple Future ·       I will be leaving for Nice tomorrow.

·       He will be driving a red Ferrari.

·       It will be a wonderful time!

·       We will be looking for you outside the restaurant.

·       You will be fine.

·       They will be arriving soon.

Progressive ·       I am being sarcastic.

·       She is being dramatic.

·       The car is being stubborn and refuses to start.

·       We are just being silly.

·       You are being stubborn.

·       They are being very rude.

Perfect ·       I have been having such a good time.

·       She has been working diligently.

·       It has been fun.

·       You have been a perfect host.

·       We have been looking forward to this.

·       They have been so well behaved.


How do I make negatives with To Be?

To form the negative, add the word not after the verb for simple past, simple present, and simple future, and before be for the progressive and perfect forms:

Simple Present

·       I am not Groot.

·       She is not studying any longer.

Simple Past ·       He was not a man of honour.

·       It was not a pleasant journey.

Simple Future ·       They will not be arriving until later.

·       It will not be open on Christmas Day.

Progressive ·       She is not being dramatic.

·       They are not being very nice.

Perfect ·       We have not been looking forward to this.

·       We have not been up to visit them yet.

How do I make questions with To Be?

When you want to form a question using to be, you simply reverse the noun and the verb:

Simple Present ·       Am I finished here?

·       Is he/she eating properly?

·       Is it possible?

·       Are you/we/they celebrating?

Simple Past ·       Were you sleeping?
Simple Future ·       Will you be going to the concert?
Progressive ·       Are you being served?
Perfect ·       Have you ever been to Hogwarts?