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  • Фото автораNataliia Biliaieva

Past simple / to be / Was or Were

Оновлено: 30 бер. 2023 р.

The verb "to be" is an essential verb in English. In the past simple, the verb "to be" is used to talk about actions, events, or states that occurred in the past, either in a specific time or a duration.

The past simple of "to be" is as follows:

  • Positive form:

I / He /She / lt was

You / We / They were

  • Negative form:

I / He/ She/ lt was not (wasn't)

You/We/They were not (weren't)

  • Interrogative form:

Was I / He / She / lt?

Were you / we / they?

Now, let's look at some examples to understand how to use the past simple form of the verb "to be":

Positive Examples:

  • I was tired yesterday.

  • He was at home all day yesterday.

  • Anna was a great singer in her youth.

  • It was a beautiful day yesterday.

  • We were happy to see our family again.

  • They were happy with their new job.

Negative Examples:

  • I wasn't hungry last night.

  • He wasn't at work yesterday.

  • She wasn't feeling well last week.

  • It wasn't funny when he fell.

  • We weren't interested in the movie.

  • They weren't able to attend the

  • wedding.

Interrogative Examples:

  • Was I late for the meeting?

  • Was he at home yesterday?

  • Was she happy with the results?

  • Was it hot last night?

  • Were we the only ones there?

  • Were they able to finish the project on

  • time?

In summary, the verb "to be" in past simple form is used to indicate actions, events, or states that happened in the past.


Let's take a look at this example:

"If I were you, I would study harder." Is it correct to use WERE with "I"?

Yes, the verb to be is not used in past simple in this example. It is used in the Subjunctive mood.

In the Subjunctive mood, the verb "to be" has a unique form for the past tense. The past subjunctive form of "to be" is "were" for all persons, including the first and third person singular.

The subjunctive mood is used to express wishes, suggestions, uncertainty, doubt or hypothetical situations that are contrary to fact. Now, let's take a look at how "were" are used in the subjunctive mood:

Hypothetical/Contrary to fact situations -

"If I were you, I would study harder."

We use the "were" form of the verb in hypothetical or contrary-to-fact situations, indicating that something is not true or not possible. The verb "were" is used for all subjects to indicate an imagined situation.

Example: If I were rich, I would travel the world.

The subjunctive mood is often used to express wishes or suggestions. In these cases, "were" can be used to express the hope, wish, or prayer for an unlikely or impossible scenario.

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