Was or were


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Very simple explanation of the correct use of 'was' or 'were'

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Was or were

  1. 1. Was or WereCorrect Usage
  2. 2. How to use was - were If IConjugate „was‟ – „were‟Quizzes Past Negative
  3. 3. How to use the words „‟was‟‟ „‟were‟‟The most common use of the words ‘was’ or were are straightforwardand should not cause problems. It is the simple past tense of the word‘is’ or are (from the verb to be), and as such is used along with thepronouns ‘I’, you, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, we and they, as in these examples:A past verb can also be a word that shows a state or condition. (I wastired.)Some state verbs: was, wereThe verb ("to be") usually follows a noun or pronoun.
  4. 4. ConjugateConjugate the verb! Singular Plural I Was We Were You Were You Were He Was They Were She Was It Was
  5. 5. Verb „to be‟ – past tenseThe past tense of the verb „to be‟ are as follows:
  6. 6. "if I was" or "if I were"?The question of whether to use if I was or if I were is a question ofmood, which, in grammarspeak, refers to the way in which a verbexpresses an action or state of being. In the English language, sentencescan take on three different moods:
  7. 7. Indicative: This is the most common mood and the easiest tounderstand. The indicative mood makes statements or asks questions:"My little brother is bugging me." "Is that tuna sandwich safe to eat?"Imperative: An imperative statement makes requests or gives commands.The subject of an imperative sentence is often an understood "you" thatdoes not actually appear in the sentence: "Dont bug your brother!""Please put that tuna sandwich in the trash."Subjunctive: A verb in the subjunctive mood deals with hypotheticalsituations or with ideas that are contrary to fact. "If my brother were abeetle, I would step on him." "If that tuna sandwich hadnt spoiled, Iwouldve had a nice lunch."
  8. 8. In the present subjunctive, were is used for all people: "If I were a rich man . . . " "If she were only ten years younger . . . " "If they were only a bit more experienced . . . "The past subjunctive uses had in all cases: "If my brother hadnt been bugging me, I could have finished my homework." "If I hadnt eaten that sandwich, I wouldnt be in the hospital now."Note that the words would and could are good indicators of thesubjunctive mood, although their appearance does not necessarily meanthat a sentence is in the subjunctive mood.
  9. 9. Now, to come around to the original question, the subjunctive mood is the most common mood in the if I was/were dilemma, so if I were is more often (though not always) the way to go. Not every if I statement should be in the subjunctive mood. Consider the following sentences: If I was wrong, I apologize. If I were wrong, I would apologize.The first sentence is in the indicative mood — it actually offers up thespeakers apology. The second sentence, in the subjunctive mood, stateseither a) that an apology would be forthcoming if the speakers error comesto light, or b) that the fact that the speaker hasnt offered an apologyindicates that he or she was not wrong. In either case, in this secondsentence, the speakers error and apology are both hypothetical, andtherefore the sentence is in the subjunctive mood.
  10. 10. The past negative of the verb “to be”A verb can also be a word that negates a state or condition.(I was not tired.) The verb ("to be") usually follows a noun or pronoun.
  11. 11. Person Number Singular Negative Contraction first singular I was I was not I wasntsecond singular you were you were not you werent third singular he was he was not he wasnt third singular it was it was not it wasnt third singular she was she was not she wasnt first plural we were we were not we werentsecond plural you were you were not you werent third plural they were they were not they werent
  12. 12. Verb ("to be") Past Negative Negative Contracted Bill was not a fireman. Bill wasnt a fireman. He was not a girl. He wasnt a girl. Tara was not a boy. Tara wasnt a boy. They were not happy. They werent a girl. The house was not big. The house wasnt big. I was not an American. I wasnt an American. Tom was not tired. Tom wasnt tired.
  13. 13. Quiz 1Select the correct word for each of the following: 1. was Tony __________ a good friend. 2. was I _________ at the movies. 3. We _________ in the building. were 4. They _________ under the bridge. were 5. I ________ the boys friend. was 6. You __________ at the desk. were 7. Rhoda ________ here yesterday. was 8. They _________ in room five. were 9. was She _________ a janitor. 10. It ________ working last night. was
  14. 14. Quiz 2Select the correct verb for the following: were 1. Mary and I___________ happy. was 2. I _________a student. 3. Miss Thatcher __________a teacher. was were 4. Bob and Ted __________young. were 5. You _________tall. was 6. The dog __________brown. was 7. He ____________at home. 8. They ____________sad. were was 9. Daniel ______________a soldier. were 10. You _________my best friends.
  15. 15. amerenglish63@yahoo.comhttp://amerenglish.tripod.com