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Past Tense - Be Verbs

In this lesson, we will go over the past tense of the verb "to be". These are also called "be verbs".

We use past tense verbs to talk about something that is 100% finished or done.

Present tense "be verbs" include am, is, and are. Past tense "be verbs" include was and were.

Remember that "be verbs" are followed by a noun or an adjective.

Look at how the verb "to be" changes from present tense to past tense.

am wasis was are were
  • I am so tired now.
    I was so tired yesterday.

  • You are happy today.
    You were happy last week.

  • We are sick.
    We were sick two days ago.

  • He is my friend.
    He was my friend a long time ago.

  • She is my teacher.
    She was my teacher in high school. Now, I am a university student.

  • Jon is hungry.
    Jon was hungry earlier.

  • They are coworkers.
    They were coworkers last year.

  • The children are happy.
    The children were happy, but now they have to study.
There are no contractions for positive sentences in the past tense.
  • I'm tired today.
    I was tired yesterday.

  • You're happy now.
    You were happy last week.
Past tense verbs are often used with time words that refer to the past. The sentence patterns are the same for both the past tense and the present tense. Only the verb and time are different.

Subject + be verb + adjective/noun....?
  • I was tired yesterday.
  • She was angry last week.
  • Mary was home last Christmas.
  • He was very sick last month.
  • Jon was a student last summer.
  • They were on vacation two weeks ago.
  • We were finished two hours ago.
Remember that present tense and past tense sentences follow the same pattern. Only the verb changes and we use different time words.

Example Sentences
  • I was happy yesterday.
  • I was angry with her last week.
  • I was interested in cars when I was young.

  • You were upset yesterday.
  • You were a great teacher.
  • You were very talkative last night.

  • We were disappointed yesterday.
  • We were exhausted last night.
  • Tina and I were happy that you came to the party last week.
  • Jake and I were excited to go to the baseball game yesterday.

  • He was a nice guy.
  • He was sick last week.
  • Sue was sad after she heard the news.
  • Jon was short when he was young, but now he is tall.

  • She was an interesting person.
  • She was hilarious.
  • Bill was often sick when he was young.
  • Erin was angry at me yesterday.

  • It was a great movie.
  • It was a lot of fun.
  • The book was not good.
  • The food at the party was delicious.

  • They were uncomfortable all night.
  • They were nice and polite when I met them.
  • The paintings at the museum were beautiful.
  • The children were so happy at the festival.
English Conversation 1

A) Were you busy yesterday?
B) Yes, I was. There was so much work.
A) Are you tired today?
B) Yes, I am very tired today. I need to go to bed early tonight.

English Conversation 2

A) The meeting was important this morning. Why didn't you come?
B) I was busy this morning.
A) I took some notes, so you can look at them if you want.
B) Great. I appreciate it.

Learn to speak English fluently with these simple exercises. Practice by finishing the sentences below and then try making your own sentences. It is the best way to learn English fast!

Tip: Say the sentences aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your pronunciation and fluency.

I was _______________ yesterday.
You were _______________ when you were young.
He was _______________ before.
She was _______________ last year.
They were _______________.
My family _______________ last year.
I _______________ happy last year because _______________.
They _______________ late to the meeting because _______________.
The weather was _______________ yesterday.
She was _______________ because _______________.

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