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Hi, Grammar Man—The "too [adjective phrase] to [verb phrase]" construction is very common. It implies that what the verb phrase expresses could not be true, because of an overbundance of the quality expressed by the adj. phrase:

  • He was too tired to read a book.
  • She is too old to have children.
  • They are too busy to take a vacation.

Notice that, in each example, the verb phrase following "to" ("read," "have," "take") is in the base form. The base form of the verb "be" is "be" (not "is," "was," "were," "been," "am," or "are"—other forms of "be").

  • He looks too old to be ninety.

The idea here is that he seems not to be ninety years old on account of how old he looks. The film makers made him look too old. They made him look so old that he looks older than ninety, the age of his charater in the film.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Dear Sir

"Too" is a adverb here. how come it is adjective phrase then?

  • She wore very expensive shoes. (In this sentence "very" is adjective or adverb?)

I know the meaning of "is, am, are, was, were. But what is the meaning "BE" ?

"Be" is "infinitive" here? Is that reason "to" added before "be" to make infinitive here since "to" is a stem of infinitive "be"?

Last edited by Former Member
@Former Member posted:

"Too" is a adverb here. how come it is adjective phrase then?

"Too" indicates that there is too much of the quality denoted by the adjective in the adjective (phrase) that follows "too." Whether or not a "to"-infinitive clause is present, there is always one implicitly present at the semantic level.

A: Can you help me?
B: I'm too busy right now. (= I'm too busy right now to help you.)

@Former Member posted:

I know the meaning of "is, am, are, was, were. But what is the meaning "BE" ?



Be, is, am, are, was, were, and been are all forms of the same verb (be). It is silly to start threads here asking about the meaning of any one of them apart from the others. They all mean the same thing! What you need to learn is grammar.

@Former Member posted:

"Be" is "infinitive" here? Is that reason "to" added before "be" to make infinitive here since "to" is a stem of infinitive "be"?

Any time any verb follows infinitive to, it will be in its base form. The base form of be is be (not is, was, were) The base form of like is like (not likes, liking, liked).

Last edited by David, Moderator

Dear Sir,

(1) He likes to be cooked = He likes to get cooked by someone. Right?

(2) "Some believed I looked too old to be ninety."

In this 2nd sentence "some believed I looked too old."

-till this, the meaning is clear for me. But after that here comes "to be ninety". Can you paraphrase "to be ninety"?

To be ninety = a state of 90 year old (correct?)

Last edited by Former Member

"Be" can be a passive auxiliary verb (as in "I like to be cooked," "Mike was punched by Tom," "He has been selected," etc.—THE FORM THAT "BE" TAKES DOES NOT MATTER), a progressive auxiliary verb (as in "He is thinking," "She was sleeping," "They were arguing," "I have been lying down," etc.—THE FORM THAT "BE" TAKES DOES NOT MATTER), or a copulative/linking verb (as in "I am happy," "She is pretty," "They are nice," "He has been cold," "She was the manager," "They were the volunteers," "He looks too old to be ninety," "Being ninety would not be fun"—THE FORM THAT "BE" TAKES DOES NOT MATTER). Please try to concentrate and absorb what I have told you here.

Last edited by David, Moderator

You said "be" can be passive auxiliary verb, progressive auxiliary verb, copulative/linking verb. If that is the case, in what situation "be" can be used as a infinitive with "to"?

THE FORM THAT "BE" TAKES DOES NOT MATTER = what is the meaning of this?

Last edited by Former Member
@Former Member posted:

You said "be" can be passive auxiliary verb, progressive auxiliary verb, copulative/linking verb. If that is the case, in what situation "be" can be used as a infinitive with "to"?

The "be" in "to be" can be any of the three types of "be":

  • I want to be free. ["be" is a copula/linking verb]
  • I want to be driving. ["be" is the progressive auxiliary]
  • I want to be saved. ["be" is the passive auxiliary]
@Former Member posted:

THE FORM THAT "BE" TAKES DOES NOT MATTER = what is the meaning of this?

It means that all forms of "be" ("be," "am," "is," "are," "was," "were," "been," and "being") can function as all three types of "be" (copula/linking verb, progressive auxiliary, and passive auxiliary). There is no form of "be" that must be one type or the other. You must observe the context and discern which type of "be" it is.

Last edited by David, Moderator
@Former Member posted:
  • I want to be driving. ["be" is the progressive auxiliary] - What is the meaning of this?

In the progressive (e.g., "I am driving"), "be" (in some form of the verb, "am" being one of them) precedes the present participle (e.g., "driving"). This can also happen in nonfinite (tenseless) parts of a sentence, such as in infinitival clauses (e.g., "to be driving"). "Be" precedes the present participle:

  • It would be scary to be skiing at a time like that.
  • I would hate to be teaching eight classes at once.
  • I want to be reading when she arrives.

What language do you speak, Grammar Man? How long have you been studying English? Have you ever taken an English grammar class or looked at an English grammar textbook? Do you understand the meaning of any of the examples we have looked at in this thread?

Last edited by David, Moderator
@Former Member posted:

Can you paraphrase the below sentences

It would be scary to be skiing at a time like that.

I would hate to be teaching eight classes at once.

I want to be reading when she arrives.

Hi, Grammar Man,

I think it is difficult to paraphrase the sentences above. In spite of David`s thorough explanations (as well as mine in other threads), you still don't seem to understand the use of "be" in its different forms. I'll make one more attempt.

"To ski," "to teach" and "to read" are simple infinitives:

- To ski in the Himalayas is scary = It is scary to ski in the Himalayas
- To teach English is exciting = It is exciting to teach English
- To read books is amazing = It is amazing to read books

In the sentences above, the simple infinitive refers to an action without specifying the time of performance of the action.

With the progressive form, reference is made to a specific point of time:

- It would be scary to be skiing at a time like that.

- I would hate to be teaching eight classes at once.

- I want to be reading when she arrives.

Dear Sir

Is/am/are - I know the meaning

Was/were - I know the meaning

But what is the meaning of "be" the base form of the "be"?In what context, it is used in English like is/am/are in present continues and was/were in past continuous.

I looked too old = I appeared too old.

To be nintey = Existing ninety/having ninety/being ninety (Is it correct?)

What is the meaning of "to be"

At a time like that means

At once = immediately?

Last edited by Former Member
@Former Member posted:

Is/am/are - I know the meaning

Was/were - I know the meaning

But what is the meaning of "be" the base form of the "be"? In what context is it used in English like is/am/are in present continuous and was/were in past continuous?

I looked too old = I appeared too old.

To be ninety = Existing ninety/having ninety/being ninety (Is it correct?)

What is the meaning of "to be"

"To be" is used whenever the infinitive of "be" is required.

Just as you say:

- You look too old to work in a mine. (Implication: You cannot work in a mine)

or

- You look too old to play soccer. (Implication: You cannot play soccer)

you can say:

- You look too old to be ninety. (Implication: You cannot be ninety)

@Former Member posted:

At a time like that means

At once = immediately?

"At a time like that" approximately means "at that time."

"At once" in this case means "at the same time."

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

1) Some believed I looked too old to be 90.

2) Some believed I looked too old being 90.

What is the difference of both sentence and why?

For my understanding, I am asking this that when 'infinitive' is needed in sentences? In what context, infinitive is used in sentences ?

Last edited by Former Member
@Former Member posted:

1) Some believed I looked too old to be 90.

2) Some believed I looked too old being 90.

What is the difference of both sentence and why?

(1) means that some people thought that the person could not be 90 — he or she must be older in their opinion.
(2) means that some people thought that the person's old age showed too much.

It may be clearer for you to understand it if we take out the "some believed" part:

3) I look too old to be 90 (I look as if I am 100, but I'm only 90).
4) I look too old being 90 (I am 90, and I look too old).

@Former Member posted:

Why "be" is called as a verb? Unlike "read", work, sing etc are verbs because those are actions "be" is not a action but still it is called verb. Why is that?

There are action and state verbs. Be is a state verb.

@Former Member posted:

We can only use Noun and Adjective after "to be"?

Is it possible to use "Verb" and Object etc?

The verb be is not transitive, so it cannot take an object. It can be followed by a (A) noun, (B) an adjective or (C) an adverb (or (D) a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb). It can also be followed by (E) a present or (F) a past participle (in continuous tenses and in the passive voice, respectively).

A) He is a teacher.
B) He is smart.
C) He is there.
D) He is in Europe.
E) He is traveling.
F) He is criticized.

Sir, my question is that why did "to be" use in the below sentence instead of rather than, is/am/are/was/were/been/being.

I understand the meaning of the context but did not understand why here "to be" used rather than?

I look too old to be ninety.

"As a husband you were known to be volatile. Have you changed?"

My concern is that in what situation "to be" can be used in the sentences and what is the meaning of  "to be". I am too puzzled. I have lost my marbles!!!!!

  • Do not answer to be means is are am/was were/being/been.

Why "To be" alone uses in sentences instead of is/am/are/was/were/being/been. Why is that? Please understand my concern. 

Last edited by Former Member

Stative verbs often relate to: thoughts and opinions: agree, believe, doubt, guess, imagine, know, mean, recognise, remember, suspect, think, understand. feelings and emotions: dislike, hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish. senses and perceptions: appear, be, feel, hear, look, see, seem, smell, taste.

Can "to be" only be used after above stative verbs?

Last edited by Former Member
@Former Member posted:

Sir, my question is that why did "to be" use in the below sentence instead of rather than, is/am/are/was/were/been/being.

I understand the meaning of the context but did not understand why here "to be" used rather than?

I look too old to be ninety.

"As a husband you were known to be volatile. Have you changed?"

My concern is that in what situation "to be" can be used in the sentences and what is the meaning of  "to be". I am too puzzled. I have lost my marbles!!!!!

  • Do not answer to be means is are am/was were/being/been.

Why "To be" alone uses in sentences instead of is/am/are/was/were/being/been. Why is that? Please understand my concern. 

Grammar Man, you have to understand that the infinitive is sometimes required. It cannot be explained in terms of meaning but in terms of grammar. For example, As a husband you were known to be volatile is a more idiomatic way of saying As a husband it was known that you were volatile.

Please be careful with the use of the imperative, for example "Do not answer..." It sounds like an order, and it's very rude.

(1) means that some people thought that the person could not be 90 — he or she must be older in their opinion.
(2) means that some people thought that the person's old age showed too much.

It may be clearer for you to understand it if we take out the "some believed" part:

3) I look too old to be 90 (I look as if I am 100, but I'm only 90).
4) I look too old being 90 (I am 90, and I look too old).

There are action and state verbs. Be is a state verb.

The verb be is not transitive, so it cannot take an object. It can be followed by a (A) noun, (B) an adjective or (C) an adverb (or (D) a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb). It can also be followed by (E) a present or (F) a past participle (in continuous tenses and in the passive voice, respectively).

A) He is a teacher.
B) He is smart.
C) He is there.
D) He is in Europe.
E) He is traveling.
F) He is criticized.

You mean "to be" can be followed by a (A) noun, (B) an adjective or (C) an adverb (or (D) a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb). It can also be followed by (E) a present or (F) a past participle (in continuous tenses and in the passive voice, respectively).

Right?

Dear Sir

I don't know how to express my gratitude towards you. I have a request. Can you write down each example with TO BE  with below usages.

(A) noun, (B) an adjective or (C) an adverb (or (D) a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb). It can also be followed by (E) a present or (F) a past participle (in continuous tenses and in the passive voice.

Thanks in advance.

God bless you! 🙏

@Former Member posted:

Can you write down each example with TO BE  with below usages.

(A) noun, (B) an adjective or (C) an adverb (or (D) a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb). It can also be followed by (E) a present or (F) a past participle (in continuous tenses and in the passive voice.



I have already provided you with examples (A) to (F). If you want examples with the infinitive, please find examples (G) to (L) below:

G) He wants to be a teacher. (be + noun)
H) He seems to be smart. (be + adjective)
I) He appears to be there. (be + adverb)
J) He must be in Europe. (be + prepositional phrase)
K) He should be traveling. (be + present participle)
L) He hates to be criticized. (be + past participle)

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

"To be" is used whenever the infinitive of "be" is required.

Sir, This is what you said earlier. But would you mind telling me, in what situation      "be" needed in situations. I want to use this confidently. That's why I have been asking this question over and over again.

This sentence isn't quite right in my grammar. It ought to be "Those with mild symptoms only require monitoring."

I would only put an infinitive after require if there's also an object.

*Bringing up children often requires to put their needs first.

The word you is missing there.

The object can be missing if the sentence is passive, as often occurs:

You are required to do your homework.

is ok.

But your sentence is not passive.

However, I see examples on the internet of require+infinite:

one does not require to be a specialist — Elizabeth Bowen

In conclusion...

Hi Grammar man,

Some verbs are followed by an infinitive ("I want to sleep"). Some by a gerund ("I dislike running."). Some by either one ("I try to do my best.", "Have you tried turning it off and on again?") Finally, some follow the pattern verb + object + infinitive. This is the case of require. (See here if you don't believe me.)

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Ben

Dear Ben

Thanks for your quick reply.🙏🙏🙏 But I only want to know "to+be" situations sentences.

I like to run (I know this)

They want to go (I know this)

But when it comes to "to be" alone in sentences ( not in passive forms) I am puzzled to understand this.

So please explain that in what situations "to be" used apart from passive voices. Please understand to the core of my problem. Please explain this in detail. Only "to be" infinitive. 🙏🙏🙏🙏 Please explain this in detail with more examples.

Ex. "You have created some of the fascinating women on the screen this year. You humanized such a fascinating women. You revealed them to be layered and complex and its really interesting."

What is meaning "to be" here and why did it use here.

Dear Sir, these sort of doubts are getting mad me to understand. 🙏🙏🙏please help me.

Ex: It defines it to be a more ancient American influence. (Talking about her restaurant about how did she end up being started a restaurant)

Last edited by Former Member

Ex. "You have created some of the fascinating women on the screen this year. You humanized such a fascinating women. You revealed them to be layered and complex and its really interesting."

Ex: It defines it to be a more ancient American influence. (Talking about her restaurant about how did she end up being started a restaurant)

Can you check why did "to be" use here? But your examples seemed to be easy to understand but "to be" in some sentences, for me, it is hard nut to crack like the above examples I mentioned. Can you write down such examples and explain. I don't want "to be" in passive voices because its clear for me.

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