Be is the base form of the verb. Use be after “to.” Here are some verbs in English that are often followed by “to”:
I hope to be as wise as my father someday.
She’s learning to be less concerned about other peoples’ opinions.
You need to be ready to leave by 6:30.
We’re planning to be in London from the 18th to the 23rd.
My kids are pretending to be superheroes.
I promise to be on time for the meeting.
He said he’d try to be more patient.
I want to be fluent in English.
- would like
I’d like to be a pilot – it seems like an exciting job.
Also use be after should, could, and would:
- You should be ashamed.
- This could be interesting.
- I would be happy to help.
Being is the continuous form of the verb. You can use it after:
- am / is / are
- was / were
- We can’t access the internet right now because the network is being restarted.
- When I said that dress doesn’t look good on you, I was just being honest.
You can also use being after these verbs:
- can’t stand
- don’t mind
- look forward to
- spend time
- Stop being lazy and help me wash the dishes.
- I enjoy being in a position of leadership.
- She can’t stand being lied to.
Always use being (not be or been) after prepositions:
- I was in the hospital for a month after being in a car accident.
- That’s the problem with being late all the time – people stop trusting you.
- The best part of being a teacher is interacting with the students.
- She got an award for being the best salesperson in the company.
Been is the past participle. Use it after the verbs have/has (present perfect) and had (past perfect).
- I’ve been busy lately.
- Have you ever been to London?
- My car has been stolen.
- By the time he showed up, we‘d been waiting for an hour.
Use been after could have, should have, and would have:
- You should have been on time for your job interview.
- The presentation would have been better if we’d done more preparation.
- He could have been injured badly when he fell off his motorcycle; he was lucky he didn’t get hurt.