Grammar is Easy – Verb To Be – Was/Were – Simple Past

October 15, 2018 - Priscila Pereira

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Hey friends!

Simple Past is a grammar point many English learners struggle with. In this new grammar post, I will be starting a series of posts about Simple Past and what better way to do than with Verb To Be?

Oh, before I give you the explanation, I am inviting my readers, followers, and subscribers to join my email list. It is free! You will be getting weekly emails with exclusive English tips, podcasts, vocabulary lessons, and videos. On tops of that, you will get my free ebook! You can register on the top right of this page.


To start learning simple past, it is important to review some key elements that you will need to make phrases in the simple past.

A Person (pronoun, object, thing, animal, a place, etc)

A verb (an action. In this post, we will focus on the verb to be)

A complement (a combination of words that will help you “finish” your sentence)

With these 3 elements (PVC), you can make a phrase in English


To make sentences, you will need a verb. In this post, we will focus on the verb to be

The verb to be in the simple present has 3 conjugations: AM, IS, ARE. You will use these conjugations in the present.

Now, as we are talking about the simple past, you will have 2 conjugations WAS & WERE

Each pronoun will have one of these conjugations. Take a look:

Affirmative form

As you can see, each pronoun will have a specific conjugation.


In the simple past form, the verbs will change their spelling and pronunciation. The verb to be, for example, becomes “was” and “were” depending on the subject.

PS: Please keep in mind, we don’t only use pronouns. A hospital (it) the dog (it), John (he), Mary (she), Jacob and Philip (they) The cats (they) The museum (it), etc.



You also learned that to make negative sentences with the verb to be in the simple present, you will use the verb to be + “not”. Here, you will do the same

Check it out

You can also “abbreviate” or “contract” this negative form. You will write and speak wasn’t and weren’t.


You can make questions with the verb to be in the simple past form. All you have to do is invert the position between the pronoun and the verb to be.

For example: WERE you happy yesterday? First, you use the verb to be and then the person/pronoun.

The verb to be has limitations when it comes to simple past. You can NOT talk about everything in the past only using the verb to be. In the next posts, you will learn other verbs in the past and how to use them.


As you start to study simple past, there are some important “key” words you need to learn that will help you describe past events. Here are some words.

Yesterday (if today is Monday, yesterday was Sunday)

Last week ( the week before this week)

You can use the word “last” with many other complements. Last year, last summer, last Christmas, last Friday night, etc)


Now, I will show you some examples of affirmative phrases in the simple past with the verb to be.

After you look at the chart, you will have a homework exercise to do. You will see two more charts that you will

have to complete. In the negative form and interrogative form. You will have to change the phrases in the chart below, ok?

Now, change the phrases above. Write them in the negative form

And now in the interrogative form


I can’t wait to see your answers in the comments!!

Have a wonderful week and stay tuned, because there will be more posts about the simple past form coming really soon!


Teacher Prix

Priscila Pereira

Starbucks and TV Series lover: juggling with teaching, blogging, and a YouTube life! I’m teacher Prix and I want to help you talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime in English! This blog is for English speakers who are looking for an effective blog. Get inspired by hundreds of different posts for all English levels, so that you can finally learn English easily and effectively on the internet.

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