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I am very confused about the use of "to be" and didn't find any proper explanation anywhere till now. Could someone please help me understand it? For example, what is the difference between the following sentences?

It is not acceptable to be waiting for...

it is not acceptable to wait for...

  • What does your dictionary tell you about the meaning of the verb to be? Do you know the difference between the simple present and present continuous tenses in English? Please tell us what research you have done. – P. E. Dant Oct 15 '16 at 7:50
  • Here is explanation from my dictionary to–be \tə-ˈbē\ adjective : that is to be : future — usually usedpostpositively and often incombination <a bride-to-be> – Sa1 Oct 15 '16 at 7:53
  • That is not a definition of the verb to be. It is a definition of the adjectival "to be" as in "bride to be." Do you understand the difference between an adjective and a verb? More important, do you know the difference between the simple present and present continuous tenses in English? – P. E. Dant Oct 15 '16 at 7:54
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    @P.E.Dant - Oh, please – stop with the "What does your dictionary say" comment. It's one thing to exhort a user to share more specifics about their research besides "I didn't find anything," but I would never send a learner to a dictionary to learn more about to be, perhaps one of the trickiest verbs in all of English. The opposite side of the show-your-research coin is remember our mission. – J.R. Oct 15 '16 at 8:38
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    @P.E. - I admire your motives; you might want to work on your wording. :-) Had you asked, "What research have you done about the verb to be," I probably would have upvoted your comment. I was only taking exception to the "what does your dictionary say" part. There is more to research than a dictionary, and sometimes dictionaries aren't the best places to look for information. I get particularly annoyed when an OP is asking about something like nuances of prepositions, and the first thing posted is "What does your dictionary say?" – as if a dictionary would make it obvious what on means. – J.R. Oct 15 '16 at 19:14
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Both of your phrases use an infinitive form of the verb wait. The first uses the ordinary infinitive:

It is not acceptable to wait for...

In your second phrase, the verb be is used to form the progressive infinitive of the verb wait.

It is not acceptable to be waiting for...

We use progressive forms and tenses to talk about conditions or actions that are (or were, or will be) in progress at the time we are talking about.

It is sometimes idiomatic to use the progressive infinitive to emphasize the action that is described by the verb. Compare:

It's about time for us to be going.
It's about time for us to go.

Isn't it a little late to be driving?
Isn't it a little late to drive?

It is not right to be bothering him like that.
It is not right to bother him like that.

There is little difference in meaning between the two phrases in your example, and very often the progressive infinitive, especially in the present tense, does not add anything to the sense of the verb.

StoneyB's answer to a related question here may also be helpful.

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