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Sentence Patterns using "Was...? / Were...?"

We use these questions to ask yes/no questions in the past tense. We use "was" and "were" with nouns, adjectives, and prepositional phrases.
  • Was she your teacher? (noun)
  • Was it good? (adjective)
  • Were they at the office yesterday? (prepositional phrase)
The "be verb" changes depending on the subject.

Present TensePast Tense

Be verb + subject + adjective...?
  • Was he sick yesterday?
  • Was she late for work again this morning?
  • Was the test difficult for you?
  • Was your presentation successful last week?
  • Were your parents strict when you were young?
  • Were the children tired after playing all day yesterday?
Be verb + subject + prepositional phrase...?
  • Were they on vacation last week?
  • Were the books in your bag?
  • Was he on time yesterday?
  • Was the book on my bed when you came in?
  • Was the movie about war?
Be verb + subject + noun...?
  • Was Jon a good student when he was young?
  • Were they friends when they were young?
  • Was he a good worker when you worked with him?
  • Was it a surprise?
  • Was that sound an accident?
  • Were your parents good parents?
Bonus Tips and Points

1. We can answer these questions with short or long answers.

Was Tom at the party?
  • Yes, Tom was at the party.
  • No, Tom was not at the party.
  • Yes, he was.
  • No, he wasn't.
  • Yes.
  • No.
2. We can use short questions if the listener already knows what we are asking about.

A) I wasn't tired yesterday. Were you?
B) No, I wasn't tired either.

A) Mark wasn't there. Was Tina?
B) No. She wasn't there.

Real-World English Conversations

A) Were you tired yesterday?
B) Yes. I was exhausted yesterday.

A) Were you sick yesterday?
B) No, I wasn't.

A) Were they friends when they were young?
B) Yes, they were.

A) Was it hot yesterday?
B) Yes, it was hot.

A) Were you a good student when you were young?
B) Yes, I was a good student when I was young.

A) Was the TV broken yesterday?
B) I don't know.

A) Were Tina and Jon angry after the meeting?
B) I know that Tina was angry, but I am not sure if Jon was angry.

Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!

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