Was vs Were

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What’s the difference between them?

Was

Meaning:

is the past tense of the verb 'to be' when referring to a singular subject.

Examples:

1. I was so frustrated with the test results.

2. He was the first one to the finish line.

3. We were all surprised by the outcome.

Were

Meaning:

is the past tense of the verb 'to be' when referring to multiple or plural subjects.

Examples:

1) We were walking along the beach when we heard a loud crash.

2) They were the best of friends until they had a falling out.

3) We were so surprised when we heard the news.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Was

There are no direct synonyms for this word.

There are no direct antonyms for this word.

Were

There are no direct synonyms for this word.

There are no direct antonyms for this word.

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "was", "were".

1. Use the mnemonic 'was' rhymes with 'because.'

2. Remember that 'were' is the past tense of 'are.'

3. Think of 'was' as the past tense of 'is.'

4. Remember that 'was' is used with singular subjects and 'were' is used with plural subjects.

5. Visualize the words in a sentence: 'He was eating dinner' and 'They were eating dinner'

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

When to use the first word?

The first word is 'was.' It is a verb that is used to indicate past tense. Was is used when referring to a singular subject (I, you, he, she, it) in the past tense. For example, 'I was at the store yesterday.'

When to use the second word?

The second word is 'were.' It is also a verb used to indicate past tense, but it is used when referring to a plural subject (we, you, they). For example, 'We were talking about the new movie.'

Do the words have the same pronunciation?

No, the words are pronounced differently. Was is pronounced /wɔz/ and were is pronounced /wər/.

What are common mistakes associated with words 'was' and 'were'?

One of the most common mistakes is confusing the two words. It is important to remember that was is used when referring to a singular subject, while were is used when referring to a plural subject. Another mistake is to use the wrong form of the word. For example, using 'was' when referring to a plural subject. It is also important to note that the past participle form of 'to be' (been) is used after 'have' to form the present perfect tense. For example, 'I have been to the store.'

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. When I was young, I ____ very talented in math.

2. If you ____ here, I could show you around the city.

3. We ____ so excited to go on vacation last weekend.

4. I ____ so embarrassed when I tripped in front of everyone.

5. She ____ so sad when her cat passed away.

6. If you ____ here right now, I would take you out to dinner.

1. When I was young, I was very talented in math.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, was) is used in the simple past tense when talking about an event that happened in the past.

2. If you were here, I could show you around the city.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, were) is used in the subjunctive mood when making a hypothetical statement about something that isn’t true.

3. We were so excited to go on vacation last weekend.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, were) is used in the simple past tense when talking about an event that happened in the past.

4. I was so embarrassed when I tripped in front of everyone.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, was) is used in the simple past tense when talking about an event that happened in the past.

5. She was so sad when her cat passed away.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, was) is used in the simple past tense when talking about an event that happened in the past.

6. If you were here right now, I would take you out to dinner.

Explanation: The verb to be (in this case, were) is used in the subjunctive mood when making a hypothetical statement about something that isn’t true.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.