Free Writer’s Workshop Wednesday: To Be or Not to Be

One of the most common verbs within the English language is the verb “to be.” This linking verb does nothing more than explain a state of “being” whether in the past, present, or future tense.

The Two Ways of Using “To Be”

It can be used on its own as a linking verb:

The cat is brown.

The verb “is” is the present tense form of the verb “to be” and shows the “state of being” of the cat. In this case, describing the physical appearance of the cat.

Or it can be combined with action verbs as a helping verb:

The cat is hunting the mouse.

In this case, the verb is the combination of both the action and the form of “to be”. So when you’re asked to find the verb, be sure to include both.

Forms of “To Be”

The forms of “to be” are determined by two factors: Tense and Person

Tense indicates when something whether in the past, in the present, or in the future.

Past – happened sometime in the past: yesterday, two years ago
Present – is happening now
Future – will happen sometime in the future: tomorrow, in four years

Person refers to someone taking part in an event like talking.

First person – I am talking.
Second person – You are talking.
Third person – He is talking.

Past Tense

The following are the pronouns and verb forms of the verb “to be” in the past tense.

Singular
Iwas
youwere
he/she/itwas
Plural
wewere
youwere
theywere

Present Tense

The following are the pronouns and verb form of the verb “to be” in the present tense.

Singluar
Iam
youare
he/she/itis
Plural
weare
youare
theyare

Future tense

The following are the pronouns and verb forms of the verb “to be” in the future tense.

Singular
Iwill be
youwill be
he/she/itwill be
Plural
wewill be
youwill be
theywill be

Remember that the verb “to be” can be used as either an linking verb or a helping verb to an action word. How we use it is determined by tense and person, and it explains a state of being.

Click below to print my free “to be” chart. It’s perfect to keep in you notes as a quick reference.

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