Was and Were Use in English with Examples

After Chinese, English is the most spoken language around the world. The most important property of the English language that has been spoken by four hundred twenty-seven million people is its widespread use. When you know the English language, you can communicate anywhere around the world and you will even feel like you are home. Therefore, learning English has become a necessity when you travel around the world, in your business trips or in your social life. Unfortunately, solely vocabulary is insufficient if you want to speak and write the English language correctly. Also, you need a good command on the grammar. In this article, you can find information and examples about using was/were, which are the past tense forms.

What Are Tenses in English?

The English language has three main tenses that are called Present Tense, Past Tense and Future Tense. However, the number of tenses in the English language is not limited to three. In general terms, you will see Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous as present tenses; Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous as past tenses and Future Simple, Future Continuous, Future Perfect and Future Perfect Continuous tenses as future tenses. When you understand how to correctly use these tenses, speaking in English will become easier than you have ever thought.

How to Use Was/Were in English?

First, we can start by answering this question: What are was/were and when can you use these verbs? Actually, was/were are the past tense form of the verb “to be”. You can easily learn this subject. And these verbs are commonly used in daily life. When you learn how to use was/were which are mandatory when you talk about something you did in the past, Past Tense will become a piece of cake.

Was/were forms can have different forms in the sentences. Therefore, it might take time to learn the correct forms. If you want to remember easily, you can think of was/were as the past tense form of the auxiliary verbs am, is and are. Generally, “was is used for singular objects and “were” is used for plural objects. So, you will use “was” with I, he, she and it while you will use “were” with you, we and they. There is a tip you might want to consider. Even though you are singular, you must use “were”. “You was” is an incorrect usage.

Where to Use Was/Were?

You need to know where and in which cases you need to use was/were auxiliary verbs to use these verbs correctly.

You can use was/were when you are talking about an event that happened in the past:

“She was in England last year,” or “They were really busy,” are the correct usage form.

You can use this form when you are talking about a past status or when you are talking about past tense:

“He was the manager of the company.

You can use it with subjunctive mood such as if or wish:

“I wish you were here. “If I were you, I would buy that car.

Another different usage of was/were auxiliary verbs are related to Past Continuous Tense:

In this case, was/were are used with the main verb. “I was reading that book when you called me.

You need to use was/were for the examples and situation about. You need to check the object to decide which auxiliary verb you are going to use in the sentence. Also, it is important to know positive, negative and question forms of these patterns.

If you want to form a positive sentence, you need:
  • Object + was/were (auxiliary verb) + Subject / Verb + Tense Suffix. For example, “He was a hardworking student 3 years ago.”
If you want to form a negative sentence, you need:
  • Object + was/were (auxiliary verb) + not (negation suffix) + Subject / Verb + Time Suffix. For example, “He wasn’t a hardworking student 3 years ago.”
If you want to form a question sentence, you need:
  • was/were auxiliary verbs at the beginning of the sentences. In this case, you need to use this pattern: Was/Were (auxiliary verb) + Object + Subject / Verb + Time Suffix and you need a question mark “?” at the end of the sentence. An example of this pattern can be given as follows: “Was he a hardworking student 3 years ago?
How Can You Answer to Questions with Was/Were?

You need to know how to answer the question with was/were. It is easy and practical to understand these patterns. Your answers will be different based on a positive or negative answer to the question.

If you want to answer negatively to a question, you need to use the following pattern:

No + Object + was not / were not (auxiliary verb)
  • No, you were not.

If you want to answer positively to a question, you need to use the following pattern:

Yes + Object + was/ were (auxiliary verb)
  • Yes, you were.
Was/Were Usage and Sentence Examples
  • She was in England last week.
  • He was very special to me.
  • My baby was born today.
  • I was not hungry but I ate a hamburger.
  • When I came, you were not in İzmir.
  • She was not tired but she slept early.
  • Where were you last night?
  • When was the last time you were home?
  • How was the weather yesterday?
  • Were you at the party last week?

How to Study English Grammar?

One of the most critical points is to remember this information. So, you need to practice and repeat regularly. Based on your needs and conditions, you might opt for different repetition methods. If you want, you can repeat with English movies or songs, chatting with native English speakers, reading a book or by travelling. Also, you can follow the classical methods like solving a test, lectures and sentences examples.

One of the most suitable and entertaining ways to practice is to subscribe to the English Ninjas platform. This way, you can log in from your existing device and start practicing with native English speakers 24/7.

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