Basic Tenses: Be

This page shows the basic tenses with the irregular verb be, including the following structures:

The basic structures are:

+ positive subject + auxiliary + main verb be
- negative subject + auxiliary + not + main verb be
? question auxiliary + subject + main verb be

But for simple past and simple present tenses, the structures are not the same. In fact, they are even easier. There is no auxiliary verb. Here are the structures:

+ positive subject + main verb be
- negative subject + main verb be + not
? question main verb be + subject

Here are the forms of the main verb be that we use to construct the tenses:

base past simple past participle present participle -ing present simple
be was, were been being am, are, is

 And here is the result:

12 tenses (be) past present future
SIMPLE
present simple or past simple
except future
will + be
+ I was I am I will be
- I was not I am not I will not be
? Was I? Am I? Will I be?
CONTINUOUS
be + being
+ I was being I am being I will be being
- I was not being I am not being I will not be being
? Was I being? Am I being? Will I be being?
PERFECT
have + been
+ I had been I have been I will have been
- I had not been I have not been I will not have been
? Had I been? Have I been? Will I have been?
CONTINUOUS PERFECT
have been + being
+ I had been being I have been being I will have been being
- I had not been being I have not been being I will not have been being
? Had I been being? Have I been being? Will I have been being?

In the following table, we see be conjugated in all persons in the affirmative for 12 basic tenses:

SIMPLE past present future
singular I was am will be
you were are will be
he/she/it was is will be
plural we were are will be
you were are will be
they were are will be
PERFECT past present future
singular I had been have been will have been
you had been have been will have been
he/she/it had been has been will have been
plural we had been have been will have been
you had been have been will have been
they had been have been will have been
CONTINUOUS past present future
singular I was being am being will be being
you were being are being will be being
he/she/it was being is being will be being
plural we were being are being will be being
you were being are being will be being
they were being are being will be being
CONTINUOUS PERFECT past present future
singular I had been being have been being will have been being
you had been being have been being will have been being
he/she/it had been being has been being will have been being
plural we had been being have been being will have been being
you had been being have been being will have been being
they had been being have been being will have been being