Questions tagged [be]

For questions relating to the verb to be.

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18
votes
2answers
14k views

Agreement in “[Singular Noun] Is/Are [Plural Noun]”?

My fish's native habitat is rice fields. My fish's native habitat are rice fields. Which one is correct? I'm pretty sure it's the first, since 'is' modifies 'habitat,' but it still sounds weird...
28
votes
8answers
115k views

Which one is correct to say: “It's me” or “It's I”?

I was taught at school that the following expression is not grammatically correct: Who is there? It's me. The correct one is: Who is there? It's I. Can you let me know which one is accurate? ...
28
votes
2answers
78k views

Which is correct: “This is her” or “This is she”? [duplicate]

Upon answering the telephone, the person calling asks if Joan is available. If Joan is the person who answered the phone, should she say "This is her" or "This is she"?
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Is it “5–6 weeks are a lot of time” or “5–6 weeks is a lot of time”?

I was just copyediting somebody's answer on another SE site and my native English speaker Sprachgefühl told me I had to correct the grammar of one sentence: ... 5–6 weeks are a lot of time ... by ...
20
votes
5answers
6k views

“I think him to be about 50” or “I think he is about 50”?

I have two options. Which one is correct? a) I think him to be about 50. b) I think he is about 50. If both are correct, should I avoid one or the other?
12
votes
3answers
19k views

“That was me” vs. “That was I” [duplicate]

When telling a story about myself from the past, I have found myself in an internal debate over whether the correct way to segue into the present is: That was me twelve years ago. Or: That was ...
72
votes
5answers
6k views

Why “the powers that be”?

In the phrase "the powers that be," as in the sentence: It would never have occurred to the powers that be to run and supervise the National Lottery from anywhere but London. (Oxford ...
5
votes
3answers
13k views

What's the subject of “There is my biscuit!” ? And how about “There is one biscuit left”?

What's the subject, grammatically speaking, of these sentences? There is my biscuit! My biscuit is there! There is one biscuit left. I don't really know how to analyze these. The following ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

He must decide who/whom to be. Which is correct?

Which of the following two sentences is correct? He must decide who to be. He must decide whom to be. I can think of arguments for both sides, but I'm not sure. To elaborate, is who(m) the ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there a rule forbidding the use of “is” at the end of a sentence? [closed]

Is there any justification for using “is” at the end of an English sentence, or is there a rule that forbids this?
3
votes
4answers
5k views

“a patient who is” or “a patient whom is”? [duplicate]

I am still very confused on when to use who and whom, I understand the idea these sentences are correct: He is the person who won the competition. That is the person whom I went on holiday ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

“would rather” + subject + past subjunctive

What is the difference between: The company would rather each employee be provided with ID card. The company would rather each employee were provided with ID card.
23
votes
5answers
138k views

“Which one is you?” vs “Which one are you?”

Imagine I'm looking at a photo containing a number of people's faces and I can't tell which one belongs to a certain friend of mine. I could ask him one of two things: "Which one is you?" or "...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Can the verb 'be' be modified?

Comments on this question considered whether the verb be could be modified by an adverb. This seems a question worth pursuing in its own right, so may I ask what completely modifies in the following ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

“This is allowed”, is this passive voice?

This is allowed. Is the verb is a linking verb, or is this passive construction? Is there a difference? How does one tell?
5
votes
1answer
549 views

Is “are” a borrowed word?

I read somewhere that English is the only language to have borrowed a form of its to be verb from another language. I want to say, if memory serves, that it was are that was borrowed from an early ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What type of grammar construction is this

She thinks herself able to best him in this argument. She thinks that she is able to best him in this argument. She thinks herself to be able to best him in this argument. Are the first and the ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Present perfect tense with the verb 'is'

I would like to know how to use the verb to be and its past participle. For example: The rain is gone. Is is present perfect tense here?
-3
votes
3answers
7k views

Which one is correct: “was/were dead” or “is/are dead” years ago? [closed]

What are the differences between “was/were dead” and “is/are dead”? For example, Osama is/was dead years ago. Are they interchangeable?
6
votes
5answers
3k views

“Who(m) will it be?” vs. “Will it be he/him?”

The accepted (and highly upvoted) answer to the question in the question What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly? states that the easiest way to find out whether to use who or whom is to ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Construction of “woe is me”

The expression “woe is me” (meaning) looks strange. On the surface, it seems to mean “an unhappy event is me”. Sure, it's an old idiom, undoubtedly reflecting vocabulary or grammar that is no longer ...
2
votes
1answer
483 views

“It is fun to be him/he.” Which is correct?

Would you use him or he in the following sentence? It is fun to be him/he. A teacher told me that you use the object form after the infinitive of to be. Is this true? I am a native English ...
5
votes
2answers
618 views

There seems to be a subtle difference between the infinitive form of the verb 'to be' after a verb and the inflected form of the same; what is it?

There seems to be a subtle difference between the infinitive form of the verb 'to be' after a verb and the inflected form of the same; what is it? This effect, if there is one, seems most noticeable ...
5
votes
1answer
380 views

Uncertain whether pirate talk be authentically or mockingly archaic

@ZhanlongZheng asked the following question on ELL: Barbosa: I defended her mightily enough, but she be sunk nonetheless. Jack Sparrow: If that ship be sunk properly, you should be ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do we say “who you were” and not “whom you were”? Isn't it the object of the verb?

I have a grammar which says that "whom" is used when it follow a preposition. E.g: to whom am I speaking. to whom it may concern. The grammar also says that "whom" is the object form of "who". E.g. ...
1
vote
3answers
776 views

Is “is” an auxiliary verb in the sentence “John is working now”?

John is working now. Is the verb 'is' in this example an auxiliary verb?
1
vote
1answer
235 views

‘the condition that <noun> be <adjective>’

In a scientific paper, I am using a phrase that is something like ‘the condition that all the numbers be positive’. I was wondering what kind of construction this is (the ‘be’) and how it compares to ...