Grammar Patterns

II.1 The 'be' group

II.1 The 'be' group

These verbs are concerned with something existing or something happening. This is a productive use: any verb which indicates where someone or something is, or how they move, can be used with this pattern, for example Near our camp there flowed a beautiful stream. We include in the list here those verbs, such as lie and stand, which are most frequently used in this way.
I just think there are great sources of pain in everyone.
In Brighton there exists an ancient custom of playing a Boxing Day game of bowls using oranges.
There seemed a note of venom in everything he said.
The verb be is often used with a modal verb, such as may, with a phrasal modal, such as be bound to or be supposed to, or with a phrase with an adjective group, such as be certain/likely/sure/unlikely to.
There may be a deeper truth here.
There's supposed to be a cease-fire in the city.
The to-infinitive form of the verb be is often used following appear or seem, or following the passive of a verb such as believe, estimate, expect, know, reckon, report, rumour, say, see,think, or understand. The two verbs are in phase and form a complex verb group.
There appeared to be a woman in the car, accompanied by a man.
There were reported to be wounded on both sides.
In the case of lie, stand, and other verbs used productively in this way, the prepositional phrase or adverb group usually comes immediately after the verb or at the beginning of the clause, rather than after the noun group.
There lay between them something unspoken.
At one end of the room there stood a grand piano.
  • be
  • exist
  • lie
  • occur
  • remain
  • seem
  • stand
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