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  1. #1
    kadioguy is online now Key Member
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    the verb to be

    In the Macmillan English Dictionary, it says:

    it pronoun
    used with the verb ‘to be’ for emphasizing that you are referring to a particular person, thing, time, or place
    -----------
    Why not just say the verb ‘be’?

    What does 'to' here mean?

    If I say just the verb ‘be’, is it correct?
    I am not a teacher.

  2. #2
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: the verb to be

    Traditionally, when we discuss the grammar or usage of a verb, we refer to it by its full infinitive form (preceded by "to"), rather than the bare infinitive form. It's not incorrect to refer to the verb by its bare infinitive form, however.

    "to" in this context doesn't have any meaning; instead, it has a grammatical function. It is the infinitive marker.
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: the verb to be

    When I was teaching in Spain, I noticed that my students who were also attending formal classes (at school or otherwise), were being given verb lists without "to". I taught (and still teach) the infinitive form as "to + verb". If I refer to "the infinitive", that's what I mean. If I want the student to omit "to", I refer to it as the "bare infinitive".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. #4
    kadioguy is online now Key Member
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    Re: the verb to be

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    When I was teaching in Spain, I noticed that my students who were also attending formal classes (at school or otherwise), were being given verb lists without "to".
    Like this
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    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I taught (and still teach) the infinitive form as "to + verb".

    Like this
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: the verb to be

    Exactly like that.

    Slightly off-topic but I also noticed that my 8-year-old student's text book gave only "have got" as the main verb of possession with no mention of "have". (There was no mention of "to" in his verb lists either.)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: the verb to be

    They use just be, but it is so common to talk of an infinitive as to + verb that many dictionary users expect it.

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: the verb to be

    "To be" or not "to be?" That is the question.

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