Download PDF

be in English – auxiliary and main verb

Is be an auxiliary or a main verb?

The verb be can be an auxiliary or a main verb in English.

1. be as a main verb in the Simple Present (am, are, is)

PronounsAffirmative sentencesNegative sentencesQuestions
Iam a teacher.am not a teacher.Am I a teacher?
youYou are a teacher.You are not a teacher.Are you a teacher?
he, she, itHe is a teacher.He is not a teacher.Is he a teacher?
we, you, theyThey are teachers.They are not teachers.Are they teachers?

2. be as a main verb in the Simple Past (was, were)

PronounsAffirmative sentencesNegative sentencesQuestions
I, he, she, itwas in London.was not in London.Was I in London?
we, you, theyThey were in London.They were not in London.Were they in London?

3. be as an auxiliary in the Present Progressive (am, are, is)

PronounsAffirmative sentencesNegative sentencesQuestions
Iam playing football.am not playing football.Am I playing football?
youYou are playing football.You are not playing football.Are you playing football?
he, she, itHe is playing football.He is not playing football.Is he playing football?
we, you, theyThey are playing football.They are not playing football.Are they playing football?

4. be as an auxiliary in the Past Progressive (was, were)

PronounsAffirmative sentencesNegative sentencesQuestions
I, he, she, itwas playing football.was not playing football.Was I playing football?
we, you, theyThey were playing football.They were not playing football.Were they playing football?

5. be as an auxiliary in the Passive

  • Simple Present → A car is driven.
  • Simple Past → A car was driven.
  • will-future → A car will be driven.
  • going to-future → A car is going to be driven.