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VERBS > Active Voice > Passive Voice > Conjugation > Defective Strong Verbs > Mood > Imperative Mood > Indicative Mood > Subjunctive Mood > BE (usage) > CHOOSE (usage) > Person/Number (usage) > SHALL/WILL (usage) > Strong Verbs > Tense > Transitive > Troublesome Verbs > Weak Verbs

238. INFLECTIONS OF THE VERB BE.

Indicative Mood.

PRESENT TENSE. PAST TENSE.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
1. I am We are 1. I was We were
2. You are
(thou art)
You are 2. You were
(thou wast, wert)
You were
3. [He] is [They] are 3. [He] was [They were]

Subjunctive Mood.

PRESENT TENSE. PAST TENSE.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
1. I be We be 1. I were We were
2. You (thou) be You be 2. You were
(thou wert)
You were
3. [He] be [They] be 3. [He] were [They] were

Imperative Mood.

PRESENT TENSE
Singular and Plural
Be.
Remarks on the verb be.

239. This conjugation is pieced out with three different roots: (1) am, is; (2) was, were; (3) be.

Instead of the plural are, Old English had beoth and sind or sindon, same as the German sind. Are is supposed to have come from the Norse language.

The old indicative third person plural be is sometimes found in literature, though it is usually a dialect form; for example,—

Where be the sentries who used to salute as the Royal chariots drove in and out?—Thackeray

Where be the gloomy shades, and desolate mountains?—Whittier

Uses of be.

240. The forms of the verb be have several uses:—

(1) As principal verbs.

The light that never was on sea and land.—Wordsworth.

(2) As auxiliary verbs, in four ways,—

(a) With verbal forms in -ing (imperfect participle) to form the definite tenses.

Broadswords are maddening in the rear,—Each broadsword bright was brandishing like beam of light.—Scott.

(b) With the past participle in -ed, -en, etc., to form the passive voice.

By solemn vision and bright silver dream,
His infancy was nurtured.
—Shelley.

(c) With past participle of intransitive verbs, being equivalent to the present perfect and past perfect tenses active; as,

When we are gone
From every object dear to mortal sight.
—Wordsworth

We drank tea, which was now become an occasional banquet.—Goldsmith.

(d) With the infinitive, to express intention, obligation, condition, etc.; thus,

It was to have been called the Order of Minerva.—Thackeray.

Ingenuity and cleverness are to be rewarded by State prizes.—Id.

If I were to explain the motion of a body falling to the ground.—Burke


VERBS > Active Voice > Passive Voice > Conjugation > Defective Strong Verbs > Mood > Imperative Mood > Indicative Mood > Subjunctive Mood > BE (usage) > CHOOSE (usage) > Person/Number (usage) > SHALL/WILL (usage) > Strong Verbs > Tense > Transitive > Troublesome Verbs > Weak Verbs