To be, to have, to do

These are the most commonly used verbs in English. Their most prominent use is as helping verbs in the creation of sentences in different tenses. Let’s look at their conjugation and uses one by one.

To be:

The present form, with the example adjective nice:

[Subject + am/is/are + adjective/noun]

I am nice

You are nice

He/she is nice

We are nice

You are nice

They are nice

The past form:

[Subject + was/were + adjective/noun]

I was nice

You were nice

He/she was nice

We were nice

You were nice

They were nice

The future form:

[Subject + will + be + adjective/noun]

I will be nice

You will be nice

He/she will be nice

We will be nice

You will be nice

They will be nice

Continuous form: being

We use this auxiliary in the following situations:

  1. When introducing oneself or someone else.

Ex: I am Liam.
     She is Mary.

    2. When talking about someone’s quality. This is usually done by using an adjective.

Ex: He is polite.
      They are generous.

   3. When talking about financial states.

Ex: Patrick is rich.
     She is broke.

   4. When describing an emotion. We use adjectives to do this.

Ex: She is excited.
     We are sorry about what happened.

  5. When saying what you do for a living.

Ex: My brother is an engineer.
     We are all doctors in the family. 

Practice with adjectives great and mesmerizing.

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To have:

Conjugation in the present form using the noun car:

[Subject + have/has + noun]

I have a car

You have a car

He/she has a car

We have a car

You have a car

They have a car

The past form:

[Subject + had + noun]

I had a car

You had a car

He/she had a car

We had a car

You had a car

They had a car

The future form:

[Subject + will + have + noun]

I will have a car

You will have a car

He/she will have a car

We will have a car

You will have a car

They will have a car

The continuous form: having

This verb can be used in the following situations:

  1. To talk about ownership.

Ex: They have 2 big dogs.
Merlyn has a laptop and a desktop.

2. To talk about daily activities such as bathing, showering, etc.

Ex: I was having a shower when she called me.
She is having a bath right now.

3. To talk about arguments, meetings, fights, etc.

Ex: We had a meeting at 5 pm yesterday.
They had an argument over the new project.

4. To talk about beliefs, opinions, ideas and feelings.

Ex: I have a terrific idea.
Everyone has their opinion about the recent election.

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To do:

Conjugation in the present form with the noun homework:

[Subject + do/does + noun]

I do my homework

You do your homework

He/she does his/her homework

We do our homework

You do your homework

They do their homework

The past form:

[Subject + did + noun]

I did my homework

You did your homework

He/she did his/her homework

We did our homework

You did your homework

They did their homework

The future form:

[Subject + will + do + noun]

I will do my homework

You will do your homework

He/she will do his/her homework

We will do our homework

You will do your homework

They will do their homework

The continuous form: doing

The most common uses of this verb are:

  1. As the replacement of a verb (action verbs).

Ex: A: Do you exercise?
B: I do. (I exercise)

     I never did household chores (I never performed household chores).
He did his job (He finished his job).

     2. To ask what someone does in general.

Ex: What do you do?

     3. To talk about hobbies and things that we do usually.

Ex: I do a bit of guitar practice after going home.
He did a little singing and dancing in college.

    4. To talk about courses, degrees, bachelor’s, master’s etc.

Ex: I’m currently doing a course in computers.
He is doing a bachelor’s degree in Science.
Katherine was doing her Master’s degree in business at the time.

Note: doing a or doing my/your/his/her degree are both acceptable.

There are two types of auxiliary verbs (also known as helping verbs).

1) Primary Auxiliaries: to do; to have; to be.

2) Modal Auxiliaries: All the modal verbs.