Can you help me to find out what kind of grammar is using here? "I be walking" is in which tense and what does it mean?

as far as i know, we can say "I am walking" "I was walking" but "I be walking" ??????

  • 1
    There are related questions here and also here
    – Margana
    Jul 3, 2015 at 7:04
  • It's in the piratical. And '... what kind of grammar is using here?' is a non-standard middle usage. Jul 3, 2015 at 11:04
  • "I be walking..." is the sort of phrasing that is at least caricatured as urban African-American vernacular (I don't know if it is "real" or not). The typical meaning would be "I was walking...".
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:17
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    @HotLicks: I think i remember reading that in AAVE the "be" forms are used specifically for habitual actions, rather than progressive ones, so "I be walking" wouldn't be used in this context, but would be used to mean "I walk" (in general). I don't know if this is the case for all varieties, though.
    – herisson
    Jul 4, 2015 at 23:49

3 Answers 3


"I be walking" is not standard English. But it is common in some varieties of English; most notably AAVE, where it is has a distinct meaning from "I walking".

  • Can you say what the meaning is then?
    – Mitch
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:23
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    The examples I've read tend to use working rather than walking, and I don't know if things are different for verbs of motion; but as I understand it, He working means he is at work at this moment, while he be working means that he has a job, or habitually works.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:31

I suspect you have simply mis-heard. The usual sentence would be:

I'd be walking down the street with a friend and would answer a question.

  • I don't think could be a mis-hearing, because it's from a book, but it could be a typo. Jul 3, 2015 at 17:40

This statement seems ungrammatical to me. Perhaps it's slang meaning "I'd be walking down the street."

  • 1
    "Shirks from grammar"?
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:07
  • @DanBron shirks grammar ? Jul 3, 2015 at 12:12
  • Shirk in the variants of English that I know means avoid a task or responsibility. Does it mean something else in Indian English?
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:21
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    @Dan He be shirking from grammar
    – Mitch
    Jul 3, 2015 at 12:24
  • @Colin I'm afraid my usage was incorrect. Jul 3, 2015 at 15:39

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