To be (Past)

In past tenses be = was/were depending on which pronouns we use it with:

Singular

pronoun

be

I

was

you

were

he

was

she

it

Plural

pronoun

be

we

were

you

they

The word be can be used to make negatives and questions:

Singular

Affirmative

Negative

Question

I was

I was not / I wasn’t

Was I?

you were

you were not / you weren’t

Were you?

he was

he was not / he wasn’t

Was he?

she was

she was not / she wasn’t

Was she?

it was

it was not / it wasn’t

Was it?

Plural

Affirmative

Negative

Question

we were

we were not / we weren’t

Were we?

you were

you were not / you weren’t

Were you?

they were

they were not / they weren’t

Were they?


The word be is:


-used with adjectives to describe somebody/something.

Joanna was hungry so she ordered a pizza.

We weren’t tired so we stayed up and watched a movie.

Was Steve happy to hear from you again?


-used with there and prepositions to describe existence and location.

There was a long queue at the supermarket.

The car keys were on the table but now they're gone.


-used with the Past Continuous as an auxiliary verb.

George was working on his project all weekend.

Tony wasn't sleeping when you called.

Was the dishwasher running when you got home?


-used with the Passives as an auxiliary verb.

Many protesters were arrested during the protest.

Jimmy Page's guitar was sold at an auction last month.