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To be or not to ‘be’: 9 ways to use this verb [excerpt]

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As short as it is, the verb ‘be’ has a range of meanings and uses that have developed over the last 1,500 years. It is—after ‘the’—the second most frequent word in the English language, and if you’re not afraid to use it, it can help you become a better writer. For National Novel Writing Month, we’ve laid out the various uses of ‘be’, taken from the Story of Be, to help aid you with your writing. Take a look at the list below and explore some of the different shades of ‘be.’ To be or not to be Existential be The bare be. Capable of being used as a single-word sentence—in grammatical terms, as an imperative. For those imagining a primordial act of creation, a word that brings everything into existence. Business is business Identifying be To identify someone or something, or to assert an identity. Or as the OED definition puts it: ‘To exist as the person or thing known by a certain name or term; to coincide with, to be identical with.’ That seems to sum it up. I am to. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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