be in English – auxiliary and main verb

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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 I am from England. I am not from England. Am I from England?
you You are from England. You are not from England. Are you from England?
he, she, it He is from England. He is not from England. Is he from England?
we, you, they They are from England. They are not from England. Are they from England?

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. be as an auxiliary in the Passive

  • Simple Present → A house is built.
  • Simple Past → A house was built.
  • will-future → A house will be built.
  • going to-future → A house is going to be built.

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