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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)

Pronouns Affirmative sentences Negative sentences Questions
I am a teacher. am not a teacher. Am I a teacher?
you You are a teacher. You are not a teacher. Are you a teacher?
he, she, it He is a teacher. He is not a teacher. Is he a teacher?
we, you, they They are teachers. They are not teachers. Are they teachers?

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

Pronouns Affirmative sentences Negative sentences Questions
I, he, she, it was in London. was not in London. Was I in London?
we, you, they They were in London. They were not in London. Were they in London?

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

Pronouns Affirmative sentences Negative sentences Questions
I am playing football. am not playing football. Am I playing football?
you You are playing football. You are not playing football. Are you playing football?
he, she, it He is playing football. He is not playing football. Is he playing football?
we, you, they They are playing football. They are not playing football. Are they playing football?

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

Pronouns Affirmative sentences Negative sentences Questions
I, he, she, it was playing football. was not playing football. Was I playing football?
we, you, they They 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.