be, been, being

To be, or not to be” – Shakespeare said in his play, Hamlet, around 1600.

The words be, been and being belong to the same family but are used differently. They’re like brothers and sisters; they’re in the same family but each does a different job.

(a) Using “be”

Be” is used to compliment auxiliary verbs like can, will and must.

Examples:

  • Suhaimi will be at home by 5:00 p.m. today.
  • You must be very tired after a long day.
  • I’ve an old computer that can still be used (by anyone).

The word “be” in all three examples has no specific meaning. It just exists because it compliments can, will and must. Therefore, the following sentences are wrong.

  • Suhaimi will at home by 5:00 p.m. today. (X)
  • You must very tired after a long day. (X)
  • I’ve an old computer that can still used. (X), but
    I’ve an old computer that I can still use. (√) – notused

Take note: If you see an action verb after the auxiliary verb, then you cannot use “be“.

  • Suhaimi will come home by 5:oo p.m. today.
  • You must rest after a long day.
  • I’ve an old computer that can still function well.

(b) Using “been”

Been” is used to compliment auxiliary verbs: has, have and had.

Examples:

  • John has been (waiting) here for over an hour.
  • The children have been taught (by someone) to respect others.
  • If I had been busy, I wouldn’t bother coming here.

The word “been” in both examples also has no specific meaning.

(b) Using “being

Being” can be used to replace “to be“.Β  It normally comes after the verbs: is, are, was and were.

Examples:

  • You are being helpful.
  • The road was being blocked (by someone), so we can’t get through.
  • Who is being blamed for this mistake?
  • Was I being rude to you just now?
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Posted on October 22, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have been running up and down the staircase since this morning. I am not complaining but it can be a tiring routine. Nevertheless I treated it as an exercise since I do not have time to go to gym. I hope I can be fit again and back to my normal self soon. πŸ™‚

    • That’s awesome, Rose πŸ˜€ You’ve used “be” and “been” correctly. You could also add:

      “Being a mother doesn’t stop me from getting fit.” – then you’d have used all three verbs πŸ˜€

  2. Oh yes! It is not easy being a mother too! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment, Kevin.

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