Unit 16: THE VERB "BE"
The verb be is unusual because it has eight (8) forms.
We use the base form be . . .
IN IMPERATIVES (Unit 18)
EXAMPLES: Be careful! This is a dangerous job.
EXAMPLES: Try to be careful, please.
AFTER MODAL VERBS (Unit 27)
You must be careful.
That platform might be unstable.
We use three (3) forms, am/ is/ are, for present tense
I am trying to be careful.
He is very careful.
The employees are careful.
We use two (2) forms, was/ were, for past tense
I was trying to be careful.
He was very careful all the time.
They were very careful.
NOTICE: If you are not sure about which form to use (am or is or are or was or were), look at Unit 4.
We use being . . .
IN CONTINUOUS FORMATIONS (Unit 22)
You are being very careful.
They are being very careful.
AS PART OF THE SUBJECT
EXAMPLES: Being careful on the jobsite is very important.
We use been . . .
He had been working for a long time.
They have been working here for years.
We've been working a lot lately.
NOTICE: Every passive formation (Unit 43) has a form of the verb be in it.
NOTICE: Unit 17 tells you more about be as an auxiliary verb.