Unit 16: THE VERB "BE"
The verb be is unusual because it has eight (8) forms.
We use the base form be . . .
IN IMPERATIVES (Unit 18)
EXAMPLES: Be quiet! I can't hear.
EXAMPLES: Try to be quiet, please.
AFTER MODAL VERBS (Unit 27)
You must be quieter than that.
They will be made here soon.
We use three (3) forms, am/ is/ are, for present tense
I am trying to be quiet.
He is very quiet.
These cars are made in Japan.
We use two (2) forms, was/ were, for past tense
I was trying to be quiet.
He was very quiet all the time.
They were made very well.
NOTICE: If you are not sure about which form to use (am or is or are or was or were), look at Unit 4.
We use being . . .
IN CONTINUOUS FORMATIONS (Unit 22)
You are being very quiet.
They are being made here now.
AS PART OF THE SUBJECT
EXAMPLES: Being quiet is hard for children.
We use been . . .
He had been quiet for a long time.
They have been made here for years.
We've been making them quickly.
NOTICE: Every passive formation (Unit 43) has a form of the verb be in it.
NOTICE: Unit 17 tells you more about be as an auxiliary verb.