30 To be Past simple


The verb to be is essential in grammar. It is an auxiliary verb and it is one of the irregular verbs.

To express situations that occurred in the past and have now concluded, we use the past tense of the verb.


The verb to be is one of the verbs with an irregular past form.


Subject To Be
I was
You were
He was
She was
It was
We were
You were
They were


Subject To Be + not Short form
I was not wasn’t
You were not weren’t
He was not wasn’t
She was not wasn’t
It was not wasn’t
We were not weren’t
You were not weren’t
They were not weren’t


To Be Subject Question Mark
Was I ?
Were you ?
Was he ?
Was she ?
Was it ?
Were we ?
Were you ?
Were they ?



  • I was a good boss.
  • He was here 2 minutes ago.
  • We were in Portugal in 2012.


  • I wasn’t a good boss.
  • He wasn’t here 2 minutes ago.
  • We weren’t in Portugal in 2012.


  • Was I a good boss?
  • Was he here 2 minutes ago?
  • Were you in Portugal in 2012?


The past simple of to be is used as a linking word between the subject and a complement or adjective. It provides further information about the subject itself in the past.


We use the past simple to express situations that occurred in the past and have now concluded. The verb to be has an irregular past form.

  • Affirmative: (I) was, (you) were, (he/she/it) was, (we/you/they) were;
  • Negative: (I) was not, (you) were not, (he/she/it) was not, (we/you/they) were not;
  • Interrogative: was (I…?), were (you…?), was (he/she/it…?), were (we/you/they…?).

For example:
— Affirmative: “There was enough sugar to make the cake.”
— Negative: “There wasn’t enough sugar to make the cake.”
— Interrogative: “Was there enough sugar to make the cake?

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


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