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English definition of “be”


verb (DESCRIPTION)    strong /biː/ weak /bi/ // (being, was, were, been)
A1 [L] used to say something about a person, thing, or state, to show a permanent or temporary quality, state, job, etc.: He is rich. It's cold today. I'm Andy. That's all for now. What do you want to be (= what job do you want to do) when you grow up? These books are (= cost) £3 each. Being afraid of the dark, she always slept with the light on. Never having been ill himself, he wasn't a sympathetic listener. Be quiet! Do be quiet! [+ -ing verb] The problem is deciding what to do. [+ to infinitive] The hardest part will be to find a replacement. [+ that] The general feeling is that she should be asked to leave. It's not that I don't like her - it's just that we rarely agree on anything!Existing and being A1 [I usually + adv/prep] used to show the position of a person or thing in space or time: The food was already on the table. Is anyone there? The meeting is now (= will happen) next Tuesday. There's a hair in my soup.Existing and being [L] used to show what something is made of: Is this plate pure gold?Comprising and consisting ofIncluding and containing Grammar:Modal expressions with beThere are a number of expressions with be which have modal meanings, for example, be to, be able to, be allowed to, be supposed to:See moreGrammar:Be as an auxiliary verbBe is one of three auxiliary verbs in English: be, do and have. We use be to make the continuous form and the passive voice: See moreGrammar:Be: typical errorsSee moreGrammar:Be expressions (be able to, be due to)See moreGrammar:Be about toBe about to is used to talk about things which are going to happen very soon:See moreGrammar:Be able toSee moreGrammar:Be due toBe due to is used to talk about things that are expected or planned to happen at a certain time. We often use it with a time expression:See moreGrammar:Be likely toBe likely to is used to talk about how probable things are:See moreGrammar:Be meant toBe meant to is used to talk about what is desirable, expected or intended:See moreGrammar:Be supposed toBe supposed to is used to talk about obligations and arrangements:See moreGrammar:Been or gone?We often use been to, instead of gone to, when we refer to completed visits to a place:See moreGrammar:BeSee moreGrammar:Be: formsBe is an irregular verb with several forms:See moreGrammar:Be: usesWe use be as a main verb and an auxiliary verb.See moreGrammar:Be as a main verbBe as a main verb has a number of meanings.See more
(Definition of be verb (DESCRIPTION) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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