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booksGRAMMAR



The Simple Past of the Verb "to be"


The simple past tense of the verb to be:

This page will present the simple past tense of the verb to be:

  • its form
  • and its use.

The affirmative form:

I, he, she, it was.
you, we, they were.

Examples:

  • I was in London in 1999.
  • Pam was in London in 1999, too.
  • We were together.
  • She was my girlfriend.

The interrogative form:

Was I, he, she, it?
Were you, we, they?

Examples:

  • Were you in London last year?
  • Was Pam with you?
  • Were you together?

The negative form:

I, he, she, it was not.
wasn't.
You, we, they were not.
weren't.

Examples:

  • I wasn't in Paris in 1999.
  • Pam wasn't in Paris in 1999.
  • We weren't in Paris.

Use of the simple past

The simple past is used principally to describe events in the past.

Remember:

1. wasn't is the short form of was not. You can say either:

  • I was not in Paris, or
  • I wasn't in Paris.

2. weren't is the short form of were not. You can say either:

  • we were not in Paris, or
  • we weren't in Paris.

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