be [stressed, bee unstressed, bi]
(1st person singular
past indicative was [stressed, woz, wuz unstressed, wəz], 2nd person singular past indicative were [stressed, wur unstressed, wər], 3rd person singular past indicative was, 1st person plural past indicative were, 2nd person plural past indicative
were, 3rd person plural past indicative were,
past subjunctive were, past participle been [bin], present subjunctive be, present participle be·ing, 1st person present singular am [stressed, am unstressed, əm], 2nd person present singular are [stressed, aar unstressed, ər], 3rd person present singular is [iz], 1st person present plural are, 2nd person present plural are, 3rd person present plural are) CORE-MEANING: a verb used most commonly to link the subject of a clause to a complement in order to give more information about the subject, e.g. its identity, nature, attributes, position, or value
This is my coworker.
He's a very sweet person.
Her new car is
The supermarket is on the left.
The clock was worth $3,000.
giving description: used after "it" as the subject of the clause, to give a description or judgment of something
It is a good thing that we left early.
exist or be true: used after "there" to indicate that something exists or is true
There are many problems with her research.
exist: to exist, have presence, or live
I think, therefore I am.
4. intransitive verb
happen: to happen or take place
The meeting was at four o'clock.
5. intransitive verb
stay: to stay or visit
I was in Italy during the summer.
6. intransitive verb
have particular quality: to have a particular quality or attribute
This sentence is concise.
remain: used to indicate that a particular situation remains
The facts are these: it is cold and unhealthy here.
8. auxiliary verb
expressing continuation: used as an auxiliary verb with the present participles of other verbs to express continuation
My legs are getting tired.
I am leaving on the next train.
9. auxiliary verb
forming passive: used as an auxiliary verb with the past participles of transitive
verbs to form the passive voice
She was sent on the mission.
10. auxiliary verb
expressing future: used as an auxiliary verb to indicate that something is planned,
expected, intended, or supposed to happen in the future (used with an infinitive)
The meeting is
to take place tomorrow.
What am I to do?
11. auxiliary verb
expressing unplanned action in past: used as an auxiliary verb when reporting past events to indicate
that something happened later than the time reported and was unplanned or uncertain at the time (used with an infinitive)
It was to be the last time he ever saw her.
12. auxiliary verb
forming perfect tense: used as an auxiliary verb with the past participles of some intransitive verbs to form a perfect tense (archaic)
She is come back.
13. intransitive verb
introducing sentence: used to introduce a full, often quoted sentence (informal)
They were, 'The tickets are way too expensive.'
[ Old English bēon , via Germanic, "exist, dwell" < Indo-European, "exist, grow"]
been there, done that (bought the T-shirt) used to indicate
a blasé attitude to a situation (slang)
be off to leave somewhere
It's already seven o'clock; I'm off.
The prehistoric Germanic word from which be is derived, is also the ancestor ofEnglishboor,booth,build,husband, andneighbor, and perhaps also ofbylaw.
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