Delving into "Were" and "Was": The Past Tense of "Be"

"Were" and "was" are essential components of English grammar, frequently encountered in both written and spoken contexts. As past tense forms of the verb "be", they carry a significant weight in conveying time and state. Let's dive deeper into understanding these verbs.

1. What are "Were" and "Was"?

"Were" and "was" are the past tense versions of the verb "be". They're used to describe a state, condition, or identity in the past.


  • He was tired yesterday.
  • They were at the park last weekend.

2. What Tense Uses "Were" and "Was"?

Both "were" and "was" are used in the Past Simple Tense to describe situations, states, or conditions that occurred and finished in the past.


  • She was a renowned artist in the 90s.
  • We were students back in 2005.

3. How to Use "Were" and "Was" in Sentences:

  • Was: Used with first and third person singular pronouns/nouns - "I", "he", "she", "it", or singular nouns like "dog" or "Mary".

    Example: Mary was late to the party.

  • Were: Used with second person singular and all plural pronouns/nouns - "you", "we", "they", or plural nouns like "dogs".

    Example: The dogs were barking loudly.

4. The Difference Among "Were" and "Was":

The distinction between these verbs is determined by the subject pronoun or noun they accompany:

  • Was: Specifically for singular subjects - "I", "he", "she", "it", and singular nouns. Example: The weather was great yesterday.

  • Were: For plural subjects - "you", "we", "they", and plural nouns. Example: You were at the concert last night.

5. Cases Where "Were" and "Was" Shouldn't Be Used:

Even though "were" and "was" are commonplace, there are situations where their usage is inappropriate or redundant:

  • In the present or future tenses:

    Incorrect: I was happy tomorrow. Correct: I will be happy tomorrow.

  • With modal verbs:

    Incorrect: She was can dance. Correct: She can dance.

  • Using "was" with plural subjects or "were" with singular subjects:

    Incorrect: They was hungry. Correct: They were hungry.

    Incorrect: She were tired. Correct: She was tired.

In conclusion, "were" and "was" play a pivotal role in English, allowing us to discuss states and conditions in the past. These verbs, though seemingly straightforward, demand a proper understanding for effective communication. Familiarizing oneself with their correct usage ensures clarity and linguistic accuracy.

6. Practice Were/Was English Exercises

This test was designed for you to practice Were/Was. The test has 20 questions. Before taking the test, please read the following tips about were and was.

- Was forms

Was is the past tense of the verb "to be" used for He/She/It.

Was + He/She/It + ...?

He/She/It +was

- Were forms

Were is the past tense of the verb "to be" used for I/You/We/They.

Were + I/You/We/They + ...?

I/You/We/They + Were + ....


Now You'll take a "Were/Was" test.