From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbebe1 /bi; strong biː/ ●●●S1W1 auxiliary verb (past tense was, were, past participle been, present participle being, first person singular am, second person singular and plural are, third person singular is)1XXused with a presentparticiple to form the continuous(4)tenses of verbsDon’t disturb me while I’m working.Gemma was reading.They’ve been asking a lot of questions.That guy’s always causing trouble.We’ll be starting in about an hour.He isn’t leaving, is he?2XXused with past participles to form the passiveSmoking is not permitted.I was told about it yesterday.The house is being painted.She’s been invited to a party.The flames could be seen several miles away.The police should have been informed about this.3 →be to do something4 →be to be seen/found/heard etc5 →was/were to do something6IFa)used in conditional1(2)sentences about an imagined situationwere somebody to do something/if somebody were to do somethingEven if England were to win the next two matches, Germany would still be three points ahead.Were we to offer you the job, would you take it?b)used in conditional sentences to introduce an aim when you are saying what must be done in order to achieve itif somebody/something is to do somethingIf we are to succeed in this enterprise, we shall need to plan everything very carefully.7old use used instead of ‘have’ to form the perfect3 tense of some verbsThe hour is come.
Examples from the Corpus
be• The children are to go to bed by 8 o'clock.• Talks were to have begun two weeks ago.• His arrival may have beendelayed by snow.• I'll be leaving in about half an hour.• He is more to be pitied than feared.• Smokingis not permitted on this flight.• Walkerwas nowhere to be found.• Fees are to be paid before classes begin.• Christ isrisen from the dead.• I was shown a copy of the contract.• It was to be one of the most important judgments the court made.if somebody/something is to do something• A separatevenue must be available, however, if confidential information is to be considered in relation to nursingcare.• However, if a doctor is to be helpful in this way, he has to understand the imagelanguage of mythology.• Allowing for retirements, that still implies the need for 2 million new jobs if unemployment is to be reduced significantly.• Clearly then, if the company is tochoose one it should opt for the first.• But if it is to do with relationship it needs witnesses.• Each must be regularly accommodatedif an organization is toflourish and grow.• Appliedlinguistics in this sense must be practised by teachers too if it is to have any effectiveoperationalrelevance at all.• These braces are costly but well worth the outlayif the alternative is to stop skiingaltogether.bebe2 ●●●S1W1 verb1[linking verb]BE used to say that someone or something is the same as the subject of the sentenceMy name is Susan.These are my favourite pictures.He’s my brother.The problem is finding the time to get things done.Our aim was to reduce the number of accidents.2[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]PLACE used to say where something or someone isJane’s upstairs.Are my keys in the drawer?The principal’s in his office.How long has she been here?3[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]TIME/AT A PARTICULAR TIME used to say when something happensThe concert was last night.The party is on Saturday.4[linking verb] used to describe someone or something, or say what group or type they belong toThe sky was grey.Spiders are not really insects.Mr Cardew was a tall thin man.She wants to be a doctor when she leaves school.Her dress was pure silk.I’m not ready yet.5 →there is/are6[linking verb] to behave in a particular wayHe was just being rude.Don’t be silly.You’d better be careful.7[linking verb] used to say how old someone isHis mother died when he was 20.Rachel will be three in November.8[linking verb] used to say who something belongs toWhose is this bag? It isn’t mine and it isn’t Sarah’s.9[linking verb] used to talk about the price of something‘How much are the melons?’ ‘The big ones are £2 each.’► see thesaurus at cost10[linking verb] to be equal to a particular number or amount32 divided by 8 is 4.11 →be that as it may12[intransitive]EXIST formal to existWhat was once a great and powerful empire has effectively ceased to be.13 →be yourself14 →not be yourself15 →the be-all and end-allGRAMMAR: Linking verbsBe is a linking verb. This type of verb links the subject of the sentence with an adjective or noun: The water was cold. Leeds is a city in the north of England.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
be• Hi, it's me.• Horses are animals.• "That's not your coat" "Yes, it is!"• Can you tell me where the stationis?• Before becoming a writer, Schwarz had been a cook, a cabdriver and a door-to-doorsalesman.• I can't remember how much the flight cost. I think it was around $400.• Dinneris at eight, so come at about half past seven.• Becareful!• A sawis for cutting wood.• Egypt is in North Africa.• "I like your new shirt - how much was it?" "It was only fifteen pounds."• Christie is my girlfriend.• Christmas will be on a Saturday next year.• Don't be so rude!• ""What colouris your car?'' ""It's black.''be-be- /bɪ/ prefix1BECOME[in verbs] used to mean that someone or something is treated in a particular wayDon’t belittle him (=say he is unimportant).He befriended me (=became my friend).2[in adjectives] literaryWEAR CLOTHES wearing or covered by a particular thinga bespectacled boy (=wearing glasses)