How to use "belong" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Belong is not an adjective; it is an intransitive verb that cannot be used in the passive voice and is never used in the progressive tenses, so it should never be preceded by a to be verb. To quote an Internet meme:

all your bases are belong to us

all your bases belong to us

For native Chinese speakers learning English as a second language, the usage of belong presents a particular challenge (and is often misunderstood) because the Chinese expression usually equated with the English expression belong to (属于) is typically used with a to be verb (是):


Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.