Daisy has a date with Jack and Sophie is working in Brazil.

The form of the verb to be is am (contracted to 'm), is ('s) and are ('re) in the present tense and was/were in the past. To be is used as an auxiliary verb, to form continuous tenses and the passive, and as a main verb. Here we are looking at it as a main verb.

After the verb to be we use an adjective phrase, a noun phrase, a preposition phrase or an adverb phrase.

Oh, wow! That sounds complicated.

No, don't worry. I'm going to give you lots of examples. Here are some examples with adjectives or adjective phrases:

I'm a bit tired.
He was late last time too.
The journey was fantastic.
My brother isn't very tall.

Here are examples with nouns or noun phrases:

She was an English teacher for years.
They're both teachers at our school.
That's my laptop.

And here are examples with adverb and preposition phrases:

I'm here at the café, and you're not!
Are you there yet?
Your phone's in my bag.
Where were you at 5 o'clock?

So you use contractions (I'm, you're, he's, etc.) in the present. Can you use contractions in the past?

No, we don't contract was or were.

I was just like you when your Dad and I were together.

What about forming questions and negatives?

They are quite easy. For questions, you just change the order of the subject and the verb. Sometimes you need to add a question word.

Is he in his room?
Where are you?
What was that noise?

For negatives, you just add not. If you're speaking, don't forget to use a contraction.

We aren't ready yet.
Is Daisy at home? ~ No, she isn't.
Those books weren't on the table. I don't know where they are.

I think I've heard a different type of contraction. Like We're not ready yet.

Yes, that's also possible. Also:

Is Daisy at home? ~ No, she's not.

But there's only one form of the first person negative:

I'm not interested in football.

And there's only one way to contract the past negative form:

She wasn't always a writer.
There weren't any peppers in the supermarket.

To be is used in a lot of everyday questions, isn't it? Can you give me some more examples?

OK, in this table there are some common areas where we use to be.

Age How old are you? I'm 18.
Place Where are you from? I'm from Beijing.
Nationality What's your nationality? I'm Brazilian.
Health How are you? I'm very well, thanks. 
People What's she like?  She's really nice.
Prices How much is it? It's £3.50.

What about Where were you born?I was born in London. Isn't that with to be?

Yes, but that's a passive. We'll look at passives another day.

'To be or not to be.'

And that's Shakespeare. We'll look at Shakespeare another day too!


Language level: 


What would you like to be when you've finished studying?


Giovannichoi's picture
Giovannichoi 23 June, 2020 - 13:23

I want to be a musical star... as you know, and also I want to write a novel, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 users have voted.
bea_mara's picture
bea_mara 5 April, 2020 - 22:06

I don't know what I would like to be in the future. For now I just want to think about school.

1 user has voted.
LumenENG's picture
LumenENG 5 April, 2020 - 10:02

I would like to be an interpreter in the future. English is my passion for sure. Also, I like learning other languages as well, but I haven't started yet, huh. I'm looking forward to learning Japanese and I think this is my goal for life, but I don't how to even start with all problems around my life, stresses, exams etc.
I hope I'll succeed in learning both of these languages.
By the way, I want to learn Japanese because I want to watch Naruto in original <3

Anyway, why the video doesn't work for me? It just loading and loading and then stops...

2 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 5 April, 2020 - 20:02

Hi LumenENG,

I've checked the video and it's working fine. Could you please let us know if the other videos on our website work OK for you? Also, please could you try watching this video on a different computer or mobile device and let us know if you can watch it. 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

1 user has voted.
BttChiara's picture
BttChiara 2 April, 2020 - 19:31

In the future, when I will finish studying, I would like to be a doctor, an actress or a magistrate.

0 users have voted.
MatildePace's picture
MatildePace 2 April, 2020 - 15:28

I still don't know what I would like to be when I grow up, but I like the idea of ​​being a lawyer. Because I like to defend people.

0 users have voted.
Desy's picture
Desy 1 April, 2020 - 16:18

When I finish studying I would like to become a doctor or a vet and open my clinic in Greece! I would like to cure who are sick.

0 users have voted.
gattifederica's picture
gattifederica 31 March, 2020 - 16:24

When I’ve finished studying I would like to be a policewoman because I would like to solve cases and try to understand who is the criminal. I hope to get married and have children and I would like to live in a big and beautiful house in the center of Milan or Rome.

1 user has voted.
Elu17's picture
Elu17 26 February, 2017 - 21:34

I would like to travel the world, pass my exams and I would also like to learn how to live each and every day by day :-)

0 users have voted.
pparedes984's picture
pparedes984 3 January, 2017 - 03:58

I like to learn too many lenguajes and travel around the worl with a proffesion like engineer beacuse they have a lot of money, meet some people on my travels and meet the love of my life that i have already

0 users have voted.
VShirleyCh's picture
VShirleyCh 2 January, 2017 - 15:55

After studying I would like to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. Hahaha
After finishing my studies, I would like to find a job, and with my salary, I start to buy my own things, go on a long and beautiful vacation, I would like to learn other languages ​​so I can travel to more and more places. A new camera.
After finishing school I would like to go to my parents' house and spend a lot of time there, because I miss them and my sisters.

0 users have voted.
shamim's picture
shamim 31 July, 2016 - 21:28

I'd like to be an Entrepreneur and I'd like to have a startup...also I'd like to make lots of new friends...
I love it! a new person is a new experience. If I want to be an entrepreneur I must have good public relation, I think this is necessary for an Entrepreneur....

0 users have voted.