To be (Past)

This page will teach you when and how to use to be past (was/were). Students often forget which forms to properly use with Subject Pronouns. If you would like to learn more about this to be in the past, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to look around, learn, and practice.

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

pronoun be
I was
you were
he was
pronoun be
we were

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

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?
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.