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Verb TO BE

To be born / agree structures have been a problem for CleverCookie's friends. These two structures lead to confusion because the Spanish equivalents use the verb the other way round:


Mi hija nació en marzo de este año.

Yo nací en 1981.

Yo no estaba de acuerdo contigo.

Sus padres están de acuerdo con su decisión.


My daughter was born in March this year.

I was born in 1981.

I didn't agree with you.

Her parents agree with her decision.



*My daughter borned in March this year.


*I born in 1981.

*I wasn't agree with you.

*Her parents are agree with her decision.

Now, let's explore a few more on the verb to be:

Progressive forms. I am being / you are being, etc + adjective/noun.
We can use this structure to talk about temporary situations to do with actions and behaviour, but not usually to talk about feelings.


You’re being stupid.      =   You’re doing stupid things.

I was being careful.      =      I was doing something carefully.

¿Necesitas esta explicación en castellano? 
Verb TO BE (versión en castellano)


*I’m being happy at the moment.                      but          I’m happy at the moment.

*I was being depressed when you phoned.    but          I was depressed when you phoned.

Be able to.

Modal auxiliary verbs have no infinitives or participles. For expressing ability we usually use can (present) or could (past). However, we also use be able to when we cannot use can or could:

  • Expressing ability for the future:               


  • With perfect forms:    


  • When we need an infinitive after using another verb:

I will be able to speak many languages in a few years.

I’ve never been able to understand maths.


He’d like to be able to travel abroad soon.

I want to be able to play piano.

To be + infinitive

We can talk about the future by saying that something is to happen. We often use this structure to talk about:

  • Official plans:   



  • Pre-conditions (common in if-clauses):


  • Orders: 

  • Future in the past:

The President is to visit Wales in November.

I felt nervous because I was soon to leave home for the first time.

She needs to start studying if she’s to pass her final exams.



You’re to do your homework before you go to bed.

So this was the town where I was to spend the winter.

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