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Auxiliaries : Use of 'was' & 'were' for Class 1 English

The auxiliary verbs – was and were are used to denote past incidents. The only distinction between ‘was’ and ‘were’ is the former is used to indicate a singular object and the latter to denote plural objects. To know more, take a look at the auxiliary concept.

In this concept, the student will discover:

  • The definition of auxiliary verb.
  • The use of was and were.
  • Some common mistakes while using them in a sentence.

Each concept is explained to class 1 English students using examples, illustrations, and concept maps. After you go through a concept, assess your learning by solving the two printable worksheets given at the end of the page.

Download the was and were worksheets and check your answers with the worksheet solutions provided in PDF format.


  • Auxiliaries play an important role in English grammar. They help to form sentences in the proper order.
  • We can also call them ‘helping verb’ because they help the main action words by providing more details about when the action happens (past, present, future) and how many people are responsible for the action.
  • Auxiliary verbs describe both singular and plural nouns.
  • The words ‘was’ and ‘were’ are auxiliary verbs that describe only the past actions. They can also be called ‘be-verbs’.
  1. The use of ‘was’:
    1. We use ‘was’ when we talk about singular nouns and pronouns such as I, he, she, and it.
    2. The word ‘was’ generally is placed after the noun or pronoun.


      1. He: He was a great student when he was in school.
      2. She: She was playing cricket last night.
      3. It: It was raining outside.
    3. The word is also used to talk about an event in the past that existed in the past or an event that already happened in the past.


      In both sentences, we used ‘was’ because -

      • The actions ‘going to the market’ and ‘watching a movie’ took place in the past.
      • We are talking about a singular noun and a singular pronoun (‘Ravi’ and ‘she’).
    4. This word can also be used when describing the quality that the person had in the past.


      1. My friend was taller than me, but now I am taller than her.
      2. Hema was the fastest runner from class A.
  2. Use of ‘were’:
    1. We use ‘were’ when we refer to plural nouns and pronouns (you, we, they).


      We: We were going to a picnic last week.

      They: They were the best football players in our school.

    2. It is used to describe an action that happened in the past.


      1. My friends were studying at my Mohan’s house yesterday.
      2. They were playing dodgeball.
    3. The word ‘were’ generally is placed after a noun or pronoun.


      Why do we use ‘were’ in both sentences?

      In the first and second sentences, we are talking about more than one person like ‘Ricky and Roxy’ and ‘two girls’.

      Both the sentences are referring an action or an event that happened in the past.

Common mistake:

Don’t use ‘was’ with the pronoun ‘you’ even if it is a singular pronoun.


Correct usage:

You were very attentive in class.✅

Incorrect usage:

You was very attentive in class.❌


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