Be, Have, Do,

Forms of verb “To Be

Present tense
Past tense
Past participle

to be

First Person



Second person



Third person



Use of Verb “To Be”

(a) Be is used in all passive constructions. The continuous form of be is being.


The boy was given a prize.
English is used by a large number of people.
He has been admitted to a college.
The road was being repaired.

(b) Be is used with Infinitive

1. to express future arrangements.

     We are to start early in the morning.
      He is to reach here by noon.

2. to give instructions.
    You are to receive him at the station.
     He is to type all letters before leaving.

3. to express immediate future.
    The bus is about to leave.
    The market is about to close.

(c ) Be is used as a helping verb in the formation of continuous tense.

Look at the following sentences.

She is writing a letter.
They were going to the market.
He is waiting in the hall.
He will be taking his examination next year.
I have been reading since morning.

In all these sentences be or its forms are used to form continuous tense of the verbs: is writing, were going, is waiting, will be taking, have been reading.

(d) Be is used as an ordinary verb.

1.  to express existence or to give information about a person or thing.
      Asia is a continent.
     Gold is a metal.
     Ali was tall and handsome.

2. to express age, size, weight etc.
    I am twenty.
    The building is fifty feet high.
     She is fifty kilograms in weight.

3. in imperative.

    Be quiet.
    Be a good boy.


Forms of Verb “To Have

Present tense
Past tense
Past participle

to have

First Person



Second person



Third person




(a) Have as an auxiliary verb is used---
(i) to form perfect and perfect continuous tenses.

         He has come.
         I have brought it.
         We have been working for two hours.

 (ii) with infinitives to express obligation.

          You have to obey him.
          I had to come back soon.

 (iii) in causative constructions.
          I had my house painted.
          I have my hair cut every month.  
          He had his house cleaned.

(b) Have as an ordinary verb is used.
(i) to express possession.
        I have a new car.
       She had a lot of dresses.
       He has a bright idea.

   (ii) to mean take, give, enjoy, experience, encounter.
    1. have (= take) : I have my lunch at 2 p.m.

   2. have (=give) : We are having a party this evening.

3. have  (= enjoy) : We had a nice picnic.

4. have (=experience): My uncle had a heart attack.

5. have (= encountered): The widow had a lot of trouble.

Forms of verb  To Do

Present tense
Past tense
Past participle

to do

First Person



Second person



Third person



Use of verb To Do

(a) Do as an auxiliary verb is used
   (i) to form negatives and interrogatives.
      Statement: They know him.
      Negative:     They do not know him.
      Interrogative: Do they know him?
      Statement:     He loves her.
      Negative:      He does not love her.
      Interrogative: Does he love her?
     Statement:       She spoke.
     Negative:      She did not speak.
     Interrogative:   Did she speak?


 (ii) for emphasis.
 Look at the following sentences.
           I know him.
           I do know him. (more emphatic)
           Be quiet.
           Do be quiet. (more emphatic)

(b) Do is used as an ordinary verb.
        I do my work well.
        I don’t do my work well.
        Do I do my work well?
        He does his work well.
        He does not do his work well.
        Does he do his work well?
       I have done my work well.
       I haven’t done my work well.
       Have I done my work well?

(ii) in a formal greeting.
     When we meet someone we say.
       How do you do?


1. Can, Could

Can  is used---

(a) to express ability, physical or circumstantial, or to express capacity. ( can=be able to)


An eagle can fly higher than other birds. (Physical ability)
She can speak English. (Ability from skill)
The jug can contain two liters of milk.
My father can’t see you now. Can you come later? (Ability from circumstances)

(b) Can is also used with verbs of perception to indicate action.


 I can’t see anyone on the road.

(c )to express permission:  (can = be able to )


Can I smoke here?

(d) to express possibility. (Can= it is possible to )


This news can’t be true.

Could is used---

(i) to express ability. Could is generally used to express ability in the present or the future.


 He has money and he could help us in business.

(ii) Could express past ability only when there is a clear reference to the past time.

 In my youth, I could easily walk twenty miles a month.

(b) to express permission.


**Could I smoke here?

( c) To express possibility.


 One man couldn’t make so many mistakes.

(d) to make polite requests.


 **Could I use your telephone?

** Remember they are not really questions. They are polite requests.

2. May , Might

May is used---

(a) to express permission ( may= be allowed to) May is more formal than Can.

(i) Request for permission.

Example: May I come in?

(ii) Grant of permission.

Example: You may come in.

(iii) Refusing permission.

Example: You may not come in.

(b) to express possibility in the present or in the future. (May=perhaps will).

Example: It may rain tonight.

(c ) to express personal wish, faith or hope.

Example: May God bless you!

Might is used---

(a) To express permission in the past. Here MIGHT is used as the past form of MAY.

Example: The boss said that he might not leave yet.

(b) to express possibility.

(i) as past tense of MAY.

Example: He said that it might rain.

(ii) in the present or the future. In this sense might suggests a remoter possibility than may.

He hasn’t worked much. But he might pass.

(c ) to express polite requests. Might is more than may.

Example: Let’s consult Dr. Wilson. He might save the patient.

3. Must

 Must is used---

(a) (i) Must expresses obligation or necessity. Obligation or necessity here means what one has to do. This necessity may be the result of external circumstances, rules, speaker’s own sense of necessity, moral obligation, or strong advice.

Example: Children must look after their old parents.

(ii) Another way of expressing obligation is by using have to and its past and future tense forms in place of must. These are:

Present tense                       Past tense                           Future tense

Have to                                  had to                                  shall have to/
                                                                                             Will have to

Since must has no past tense form, we use had to to express obligation in the past.

Example: We had to take a taxi to reach the station in time.

(iii) We use have to in place of must to refer to habitual action.

Example: A policeman has to be on duty for ten hours a day.

(iv) Must can be used both for the present and the future. But we use shall have to or will have to to make the idea of obligations in the future more exact.
Example: If we were late, we shall have to take a taxi.

(b) There is yet another way to express obligation or necessity. This is the use of be+to+verb. This form is used when the result of an arrangement and order.

I am to report for duty tomorrow.(order)
They are to meet us at the station at 6 p.m. (arrangement)

(c ) Must is used to express inference or certainty.

Example: He must be at least thirty.

(d) Negative obligation: must not is used to prohibit a person from doing something.

Example: You must not pluck flowers here.

4. Need

Need is used---

(a) No Obligation: The absence of obligation is expressed by need not /needn’t.

You needn’t go now. (= it is not necessary for you to go now: no obligation)

(b) Use of need in interrogative sentences.

Example: Need I write to him?

(c ) Need as main verb:  As a regular verb it means to require.

5. Ought

 Ought to is used -----

Form: ought + to infinitive

(a) to express moral obligation or duty.

Example: We ought to respect others right.

(b) to express strong probability.

Example: Ours is a strong team. It ought to win.

(c ) to express desirability of action.
Example: Men ought to help their wives at home.

(d) in interrogative

Ought I to write to him?

6. Dare
Dare is used as an auxiliary

(a) to express the meaning have the courage to .

It is used only in negatives and interrogative.


I daren’t oppose him.
Dare he abuse you?

(b) Dare used as a main verb: As a main verb dare means be brave enough to or challenge. In this sense, it is used in affirmative sentence also.

Example; I dare you to repeat your challenge.

7. Used to:
Form: used+ to infinitive

Used to has no present tense form.

(a) Used to express s a habitual or routine action in the past.

Example: We used to go for swimming every Sunday.

7. Will, Would.

Will is used

(a) to express pure future

Example: He will come tomorrow.

(b) to express promise.

Example: We will pay back every penny in a year’s time.

(c) to express requests.

Example: Will you give him my message please?

(d) to express invitation.

Example: Won’t you step in?

(e) to express commands or instructions.

Example: Everybody will reach the parade ground at seven sharp.

Would is used.

(a) to express requests.

Example: Would you please, close the window?

(b) to express polite enquiries, offers, wishes and to ask permission.

Would you like to see our show-room?
I would like to see the manager.

(c) to express activities that occurred from time to time in the past.

Example: When we were young, grandfather would often tell us stories.       

8. Shall, Should:

Shall is used—

(a) to express offers, suggestions, polite enquiries.

Example: Shall I help you to carry it?

(b) to express the speaker’s determination or intention.

Example: You shall have all comforts.

(c) To express commands, warnings, or threats.

You shall stay here till I come back. (command)
You shall feel sorry for your rudeness. (warnings)

Should is used---

(a) expressing moral obligation, duty or desirable action.

Example: You should be kind to animals.

(b) giving or asking for advice.

Example: You should plan the whole tour before starting.

(c)  for expressing probability.

Examples: Our new furniture should be ready by now.


 (a) Use can or could in the following sentences:

  1. She …drive a car. She… drive when she was ten.
  2. You….. use my car when ever you liked.
  3. I…not do this exercise now. I ….do it when I was young.
  4. You…go now.
  5. Don’t wait for me. I …be late.
  6. We… all be wrong sometimes.
  7. They …not decide any issue in the meeting yesterday.
  8. We…not hear you. ……you speak a little louder, please?

(b) Use may or might in the following sentences:

  1. …….I come in?
  2. He…attend the office. He is slightly unwell.
  3. …succeed in life!
  4. …offer you some suggestions?
  5. He said he …come, but he was not sure.
  6. The weather in the hills is very uncertain. It….rain any moment.
  7. It doesn’t rain here during these months, but it ….
  8. I ….be wrong, but don’t think I am.
  9. We are getting late. But we ….still reach the airport and see them off.

c) Use must, have to, has to, had to, in the following sentences:

  1. Children…cross the road carefully.
  2. It is dark now. You… stay here for the night.
  3. She… stay in bed throughout last week.
  4. We …see this film. It’s has been praised so much.
  5. Women…work so much at home.
  6. I was in a hurry. I …take a taxi.
  7. You…write clearly.
  8. He said that he…consult a doctor.
  9. This is an age of competition. Everyone …look smart.
  10. She …..leave home early every morning.

(d) Use must not (mustn’t) or need not (needn’t) in the following sentences:

  1. You …disturb him. He is fast asleep.
  2. He is all right now. He …take the medicine.
  3. You … take this medicine.  It could harm you.
  4. You …come yourself. You can send your son instead.
  5. You…study all the time. You must also play.
  6. He …drive so fast. There could be an accident.
  7. Must I go now? No, you……

(e) Use will or shall in the following sentences:

  1. ….we join the same college?
  2. ….you please hold this packet for a moment?
  3. ….we begin our programme, now?
  4. …I write on the blackboard?
  5. I …help you.
  6. Father…be seventy next July.
  7. Who is knocking? That …be the milkman.
  8. We…not get much to eat on the way. Let’s take something with us.

(f) Use would, should or ought to in the following sentences:

  1. ….you mind switching on the light?
  2. I …like to meet your father.
  3. They …be here any time.
  4. …I give you more money?
  5. I …n’t sell my car for anything.
  6. Students …keep out of politics.
  7. The old sailor …often tell us stories of his adventure.
  8. …n’t you be ashamed of your behavior?
  9. I …n’t mind talking to him.
10. We…..  n’t kill animals for sport.

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