Was vs. Were

This time, we're gonna delve into more grammatically-confusing words. Do you prefer to study more grammatical terms or vocabulary?

"Was" vs. "Were" in the English Grammar

What Us Their Main Difference?

Both are past forms of the verb 'to be'. However, 'was' is used with first and third-person singular pronouns, whereas, 'were' is used with second-person plural pronouns.


As mentioned above, 'was' is the past form of the 'to be' verb used for first and third-person singular pronouns. It comes with these pronouns: 'I', 'he', 'she', and 'it'. Look below:

I was texting you when you called me.

Where did you say Julia was going?

'Were', on the other hand, is the past tense of the 'to be' verb that is used with plural second-person pronouns that are: 'you', 'we', and 'they'. Check out the examples below:

We were attempting to find a solution.

The boys were on their way to the school.


They are both past tenses of the verb 'to be', so they both refer to the past. Look at the examples below:

Sara was washing the dishes.

All the people were marching down towards the gates.

Are They Interchangeable?

As stated above, these two verbs are used with different nouns and pronouns. The singularity or plurality of the noun/pronoun matters, so they can never be used interchangeably because if so, the sentence will be grammatically incorrect. Compare:

✓ My friend was writing down our names when I saw her.

X My friend were writing down our names when I saw her.


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