English grammar correct:

She was very cheerful yesterday.


The baby ____________ very good today.

I write test:

The baby is very good today.

English grammar correct test is:

The baby is being very good today.

Please explain, I do not see the difference between "She was very cheerful yesterday" and "The baby is very good today."

Why "is being"?

  • 2
    The verb "be good" has an idiomatic meaning here; it means something like "behave well," and it's something you would say about a child or maybe a pet. A baby who is being very good is not screaming or causing trouble for his or her parents. Again, this is just an idiom. I wouldn't have necessarily marked "The baby is very good today" as wrong, though. That sentence has a meaning --- probably that the baby feels well --- it's just a different meaning from the other one. Jan 28, 2018 at 0:07

4 Answers 4


It's today for us, "today" as the unit of time is still unfolding. So the baby is in the process of being good right now, this is a behaviour/action on her part that is still continuing as you speak.

You are not giving a characteristic that would apply everyday, be a constant or repeatable state; hence, Present Simple is not applicable.

Beside, phrases with "is good" are often idiomatic or are used as cliches in certain situations, so it's also partially about having a feeling for the language and not accidentally getting a totally different sense.

For example, before I clicked on this post, just from reading its title, I chuckled at "The baby is very good today" because it reminded me of phrases like "The salmon is very good today" (a remark at a restaurant where, the day before, you were served overcooked salmon). You don't eat babies, do you?

"I'm good" is often said, again, in situations where someone asks "Would you like more salmon?/another drink?", and you answer "I'm good" meaning that you are content with what you have and don't need anything else.

Without "today", I envision the phrase "The baby is good" to be appropriate in a situation where, e. g., someone asks you "Don't you think we should put another sweater on the baby before going outside, since it's so cold", and you answer "No, the baby is good".

"X is good" cannot be provided as a constantly valid characteristic (which Present Simple is used for), because this meaning would be handled by the phrase "She is a good baby (never whines, etc.)." Basically, the only context where it doesn't sound out of place is the phrase "God is good" (which is supposed to be a constant characteristic).

Everyone else "is a good something"—a good guy, a good cook, etc.

When something "is good", it's usually in the contexts I've described above.


One of the meanings of be is behave (in a certain way). Examples are be good, be difficult, be a nuisance, be a hero.

In this sense, it behaves like a normal verb, and takes continuous forms where ordinary actions verbs do.

In fact, most of the time it must have a continuous form: if you use a simple present or past, it will not usually be interpreted in this sense. So you find doublets like he is good (general quality) vs he is being good (behaving well). It is possible for he is good to mean he generally behaves well, but out of context it is at least as likely to refer to something other than his behaviour: his morals, or his skill at something.


I'm reading again rule:

We use am being, are being etc for actions and behaviour, but not feelings.

cheerful is feelings, good is behaviour


In my opinion, being very good connotes the baby keeps behaving very good all day long. Well, the baby is very good today means overall the baby behaves very good today.

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