Friday, 8 April 2011

The Queen's English The Verb “To Be” 08.04.2011

The verb to be is probably the most widely used
in English. Therefore it stands to reason, it's
To deal with present simple first, well it is very
I am
You are
He/she is
We are
They are
It is
Past simple
I was
You were
He/she was
We were
They were
It was
To express future state or intention, of course we
must use a modal auxiliary (will, shall, may or

I will be
You will be
He/she will be
We will be
They will be.
It will be.

Of course, as is true of all verbs, the verb to be
must agree in terms of number and tense.
Recently, I have heard people say (TV reporters
who presumably ought to know better) such
shocking things as 'they was' or 'he were'.
Mothers and fathers correct their children who
make these mistakes.
There is a sign in the
window of a small shopping arcade in town, and
I regularly go past it. One day when I have time
I shall point out to them that the word premises
is actually a plural noun. (Their sign says 'No
cash kept on this premises overnight.)
Premises plural, are shops and businesses, often
but not necessarily in one building. A premise,
singular is another thing altogether - it's “A
proposition upon which an argument is based or
from which a conclusion is derived... “ (from )
Usage note.
As many people will already know, in spoken
English and increasingly in written English, we
tend to miss out part of words such as 'am', and
'will' as a modal for the future tense of the verb to
When we do that, it is written as follows, with an
I am hungry becomes 'I'm hungry'.
I will be going to the supermarket later on today
becomes “I'll be going to the supermarket later on
Idiom watch.
Below are some of the many idioms using the
variants of the verb 'to be'.
To indicate that you're drunk or that someone else
I'm bladdered
You're pissed as a newt.
Tired and emotional
I'm talking on the porcelain telephone
Talking to my friend Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaalph!
To indicate that you or someone else is ill
I'm sick as a dog (poor canines!)
I feel like shit (very informal, in fact if in doubt, don't use, it's vulgar)
I'm not well at all (when you want to be ironic or
minimise your state.)
I'm wrung out
Had it
There are of course more, and I invite people to
contribute their own

No comments:

Post a Comment