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Thread: to be

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    #1

    Angry to be

    Dear Teachers,

    I have totally confused by the word 'to be', which is being employed in many occasion; however, i could not able to understand its grammar type appropriately.

    For instance,
    When she dies she wants to be cremated, not buried
    The diagrams are to be included in his record book
    The inflation rate is now reckoned to be ten percent
    A whole day's work had to be redone.

    I can understand the meaning of all aforesaid sentences. Is 'to be' a verb? I put this word in many online dictionary, but there is no such a word.
    Please make me understand that the word 'to be' belongs to verb, or adverb, etc.

    Thanking you in advance for your kind reply

  1. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to be

    Hello, and welcome!
    I understand why you are confused - this is the most complicated of English verbs, and all my students have trouble with some part of it!

    First, yes be is a verb, and here are the basic forms:
    base form be
    infinitive to be
    present am, is, are
    past was, were
    present participle being
    past participle been
    Infinitive following main verb:
    When she dies she wants to be cremated, not buried.
    The diagrams are to be included in his record book. [This has future meaning.]
    The inflation rate is now reckoned to be ten percent.
    Base form following modal verb had to:
    A whole day's work had to be redone.

    I hope this helps!

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: to be

    Quote Originally Posted by mayita1usa View Post
    be is a verb, and here are the basic forms:
    I would use slightly different terminology:

    BE is the base/first/citation form of the verb.

    In "You must be good", be is the bare infinitive.
    In "She wants to be cremated", be is the to- infinitive.

    Although HAVE TO has modal meaning, it is not one of the modal verbs/modal auxiliaries/modals.It is sometimes referred to as a quasi-modal, semi-modal or modal equivalent.

  3. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to be

    Terminology is such a challenge!
    I like yours - I only wish all the different textbooks could just get together and agree.

  4. Route21's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: to be

    If:
    In "You must be good", "be" is the bare infinitive.....

    In which category does "You have to be good" fall?
    Would "be", in this case, be the "bare" or "to-" infinitive?
    Bare also? Because the "to" is part of "have to" rather than "to be"?

    Regards
    R21

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: to be

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    Would "be", in this case, be the*"bare" or "to-" infinitive?
    Bare also? Because the "to" is part of "have to" rather than "to be"?
    Most course book writers and many grammarians treat 'have to' as a verb, though technically, I suppose, 'to' following a verb cannot be part of that verb. In ordinary speech, many people treat /hæftə/, /ɔ:tə/, /wɒnə/ and /gɒtə/ as if they were verbs. Indeed the informal written forms of the last two, wanna and gotta are becoming more common.

    My (strictly personal) view is that this is a situation in which fudge is helpful. I find it useful with my learners to treat 'have to' as if the two words were a single verb; I then simply say that it is followed by the infinitive. I've got away with this, unchallenged, for many years.

    One way out of it for some people is to think of the to of the to- infinitive as an 'infinitive particle', which is required before some infinitives (these people don't use the word bare) and not before others, depending on which verb precedes the infinitive, or whether or not the verb is used as a noun (as in: "To err is human"). When HAVE (pronounced /hæf/) carries the meaning of obligation, the infinitive particle is obligatory.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: to be

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    If:
    In "You must be good", "be" is the bare infinitive.....

    In which category does "You have to be good" fall?
    Would "be", in this case, be the "bare" or "to-" infinitive?
    Bare also? Because the "to" is part of "have to" rather than "to be"?

    Regards
    R21
    'to' belongs to 'have'; 'be' is a bare infinitive. You can tell this by comparing the following in which both are necessary:
    Billy: "Why should I do the right thing?
    Dad: "You have to to be good."

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: to be

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    'to' belongs to 'have'; 'be' is a bare infinitive. You can tell this by comparing the following in which both are necessary:
    Billy: "Why should I do the right thing?
    Dad: "You have to to be good."
    You could use that argument with other verbs:

    Dad: There's no need for you to learn to drive.
    Billy: I want to to take my girlfriend out into the country.


    Luke: Do you think you'll move to Sheffield next year?
    Emma: I hope to to be closer to my boyfriend.

  8. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: to be

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    My (strictly personal) view is that this is a situation in which fudge is helpful. I find it useful with my learners to treat 'have to' as if the two words were a single verb; I then simply say that it is followed by the infinitive. I've got away with this, unchallenged, for many years.
    Yes, "fudging" is sometimes necessary for simplicity's sake - which is why I originally refered to have to as a "modal" verb even though that's not strictly true. I'm sure this is also why many textbooks are simply calling be the 'base' form, while an 'infinitive' is any verb with to attached.

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