Example Sentences of the Verb Be

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This page provides example sentences of the verb to be in all tenses including conditional and modal forms

Example Sentences with the Verb Be in All Forms

Infinitive to be / Base Form be / Past Simple was-were / Past Participle been / Gerund being

Present Simple

He is a good friend.
The students were excited to be at school

Present Perfect

I've been a teacher for many years.
She's been to France more than ten times in her life.

Past Simple

She was an excellent tennis player when she was young.
We were happy to have our friends over last week. 

Past Perfect

Peter had been to the office before they arrived.
How long had you been in town before he called you?

Future (will)

She will be here soon.
They will be in Chicago next week for a meeting. 

Future (going to)

Mary is going to be late for the meeting.
Are you going be on time for class tomorrow?

Future Perfect

She'll have been here for two weeks by next Friday.
Our company will have been in business for two years on the first of the month.

Future Possibility

They might be at the party.
He may already be there. Let's go!

Present Possibility

She can't be mad at Doug.
He should be at church waiting for us. 

Past Possibility

He might have been at school or at home.
She couldn't have been serious!

Real Conditional

If you hurry up, we will be on time.
Susan will be happy to help if you give her a call.

Unreal Conditional

If you were here, I would be happy.
He would be delighted if you asked him to take the position.

Past Unreal Conditional

If Jack had been at the party, she would have spoken with him.
They would have been on time if they had known the location.

Present Modal

You should be more careful.
Jennifer can be your partner for this exercise.

Past Modal

He can't have been on time!
They had to be late for the meeting because of the traffic. 

The verb be is probably the most important in English. It's used in simple statements such as:

How are you?
It's a beautiful day!
I'm from Italy.

Important Notes about Be

In this case, be is the main verb. In other cases be is used as a helping verb in continuous forms:

We were watching TV when he arrived. - were watching (past continuous)
The students are doing their homework at the moment. - are doing (present continuous)
They'll be enjoying a vacation this time next week.  - will be enjoying (future continuous)

and perfect continuous forms:

Andy had been waiting for two hours when Doug finally arrived. - (past perfect continuous)
They've been playing golf for five hours. - (present perfect continuous)
I'll have been working for ten hours by the time I finish. - (future perfect continuous)

Quiz: Conjugate with Be

Use the verb "to be" to conjugate the following sentences. Quiz answers are below. In some cases, more than one answer may be correct.

  1. My friend _________ in New York on Monday.
  2. Ellen ___________ at school on Wednesday.
  3. She _____ a teacher.
  4. We ________ in Seattle for two days by the time he arrives.
  1. They ______ (not) my friends.
  2. Mary ______ (not) at school tomorrow.
  3. _____ they in class last week?
  4. I _________ in Seattle since five o'clock.
  5. They ________ in touch before I met him.
  6. I ______ happy every day.

Quiz Answers

  1. will be / was 
  2. will be / was
  3. is
  4. will have been
  5. aren't 
  6. won't 
  7. were
  8. have been
  9. had been
  10. am

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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Example Sentences of the Verb Be." ThoughtCo, Mar. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/example-sentences-of-the-verb-be-1211152. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, March 28). Example Sentences of the Verb Be. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/example-sentences-of-the-verb-be-1211152 Beare, Kenneth. "Example Sentences of the Verb Be." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/example-sentences-of-the-verb-be-1211152 (accessed December 15, 2017).