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Learn to Speak English Fluently: Use of ‘were’

Learn to speak English fluently through TLP Spoken English Course. It is designed to help you learn on your own in an easy and systematic way. You are advised to start from How to Use the Course Content? In the previous unit we  have discussed, how to make Questions with ‘was’. In this unit you will learn the use of ‘were‘ with ‘you‘, ‘we‘ and ‘they‘.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘they’

Were’ is the past tense of ‘are’ and we use it with ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘they’ to talk about the past.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘you’ (referring to one person)

We use ‘were‘ with ‘you‘–

  • To talk about what a person was in the past.

You were a sober person.
You were a good batsman.
You were a topper in the class.

  • To talk about one person’s physical, mental state or situation in reference to the past.

You were unhealthy before.
You were strong earlier.
You were late to the class.

  • To talk about a person’s action which was continuous in the past.

You were boarding a train.
You were ironing your clothes.
You were singing a song.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘they’
  • To talk about more than one person’s past identity.

You were good students before.
Rakesh and Arvind were musicians.
We were schoolmates.
They were neighbours.

  • To talk about more than one person’s physical or mental state or situation in reference to the past.

You were dynamic before.
You were sick earlier.
We were weak.
We were poor at one time.
They were very slim before.
They were energetic.

  • To talk about an action which was continuous in the past.

You were teaching the children.
We were repairing the machine.
They were looking after the children.

Positive Form Negative Form Negative Contracted Form.
were were not weren’t

You were helping them.
You were not / weren’t helping them.
We were communicating with them.
We were not / weren’t communicating with them.
They were playing video games.
They were not / playing video games.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘these’, ‘those’, ‘here’ and ‘there’

We use ‘were’ with ‘these’, ‘those’, ‘here’ and ‘there’ to talk about more than one in reference to the past.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘these’
  • To talk about the past in reference to things and people near us.

These were my dresses.
These were his files.
These workers were arranging the things.
These people were going to Delhi.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘those’
  • To talk about the past in reference to things and people away from us.

Those were our classrooms.
Those were their cell phones.
Those party workers were suspended.
Those devotees were on their way to Amarnath.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘here’
  • To talk about the past in reference to things and people near us.

Here were Raju’s books.
Here were some plants.
My friends were playing here.
Here were the school children.

Use of ‘were’ with ‘there’
  • To talk about ‘where some things were’ and also with numbers and quantities.

There were many eateries on the main road.
Many shops were there in that area.
There were many problems in this project.
There were many Indians on the flight.

Exercise: Write more sentences using the examples, which you can use in your day-to-day conversation and practice orally.

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