Past Simple Tense ‘TO BE’- Was/Were

Simple Past Tense ‘TO BE’Was/Were

In this tutorial about English Grammar Past Simple Tense ‘TO BE’- Was/Were, learners would learn English fast on how to change the verb “to be” (am, is, are)’ from present tense to simple past tense.  “To be” has two forms in the past; the was and were. The simple past tense of “to be- was and were” are used to describe events in the past. To help you more with simple past tense to be topic, exercises and video were attached below.

Simple past tense is used for both recent and distant past actions. Remember, it is that the activity you are talking about has been completed, and is not still going on. If you are describing when something happened, you‘ll use simple past.

Past Simple Of “To Be”-Was/Were

Language focus: Be Verbs

Materials: flash cards

Learning Experiences:

Pre- activity

Word Drill: am, is, are, was, were

Activity Proper:

A. Motivation:

Ask: “Where am I?”- Students should answer, “You’re in class/at school.”

 B. Presentation of Simple Past Tense “to be” English Tutorial:

Present the lesson in first person singular “the past simple of the verb to be” by saying; “ Yesterday at this time, I was at home.” 

The teacher goes around the class, and have students take turns saying where they were the previous day in the first person singular.

C. Analysis and discussion: Grammar Simple Past Tense “to be”

Discuss how the verb “To Be” changes from Present simple Tense to Past Simple Tense using the table below:

To Be (Present Simple) To Be (Past Simple)
I am I was a student/ happy.
He is He was a student/ happy.
She is She was a student/ happy.
It is It  was Long.
We are We were a student/ happy.
You are You were a student/ happy.
They are  They were a student/ happy.


Change the verb To Be into Past Simple Tense.

Example:  I am very happy. → I was very happy.

You are a good doctor.            ______________________

He is my friend.                       ______________________

The rope is too short.            ______________________

They are clever students.       ______________________

We are happy.                       ______________________

The coffee is sweet.                ______________________

 To Be (Past Simple – Negative)

I     was not (wasn’t)      a student/ happy.
He    was not (wasn’t)     a student/ happy.
She    was not (wasn’t)     a student/ happy.
It    was not (wasn’t)     long.
We    were not (weren’t)     a student/ happy.
You   were not (weren’t)     a student/ happy.
They   were not (weren’t)     a student/ happy.

 Change the positive sentence into negative.

 Example: I was very sad yesterday. → I was not (wasn’t) very sad yesterday.

 The bread was very soft.                 __________________

You were right!                                 __________________

Bella’s dress was really beautiful.     __________________

Tom was very funny.                        __________________

We were surprised.                           __________________

The ball was new.                             __________________

 Use the shortened version of was not/ were not.

Example: Fred was not happy. → Fred wasn’t happy.

 My coat was not very warm.              ___________________

The water was not cold.                     ___________________

His dog was not brown.                     ___________________

We were not there on Sunday.          ___________________

You were not happy.                          ___________________

John and Ben were not at the party   ___________________

 To Be (Past Simple) – Positive Interrogative (Question)

Was I a student/ happy?
Was he a student/ happy?
Was she a student/ happy?
Was it Long?
Were we a student/ happy?
Were you a student/ happy?
Were They a student/ happy?

Underline the correct word.

Example:  Was/ Were Sammy sad?

My parents was/ were on holiday.              Was/ Were Karina sleepy?

Paula wasn’t/ weren’t ready for the test.    Was/ Were they at home?

Wasn’t/ Weren’t it too late?                       There was/ were many people.

To Be (Past Simple) – Negative Interrogative (Question) To Be (Past Simple) – Contracted Form
Was I not a student/ happy? Wasn’t I a student/ happy?
Was he not a student/ happy? Wasn’t he a student/ happy?
Was she not a student/ happy? Wasn’t she a student/ happy?
Was it not long? Wasn’t it long?
Were we not students/ happy? Weren’t we students/ happy?
Were you not students/ happy? Weren’t you students/ happy?
Were they not students/ happy? Weren’t they students/ happy?


Fill in the blanks. More than one correct answer is possible.

Example: Christa didn’t study. She wasn’t ready for the test.

  1. Mike read the book. H_______ happy and told everybody about it.
  2. My cats _______ very hungry. They ate everything.
  3. You ______ very good at football. That’s why we didn’t want to play with you.
  4. Naomi and her brother _______ thirsty. They didn’t finish their tea.
  5. Roxanna wrote me a letter for the first time. I _______ surprised.
  6. The rope_______ too short. We had to buy a new one.


Write 5 sentences using the simple past “to be”.

Practice simple past tense to be exercises (1)

Choose was not or were not and write on the space provided.

  1. They __________________ ill.
  2. You __________________tired.
  3. The children __________________ quiet.
  4. Max __________________ in Helsinki last week.
  5. She __________________ home for dinner.
  6. The water__________________ cold.
  7. There __________________ a good film on TV yesterday.
  8. We __________________ in Brazil last winter.
  9. Betty and Florence __________________ at school this morning.
  10. I__________________ happy when I heard about the accident.

Practice simple past tense to be exercises (2)

Choose was not or were not and write on the space provided.

  1. Our aunt ______________ rich.
  2. The policeman _____________ very angry.
  3. The clowns _____________ fat.
  4. We _____________ hungry.
  5. I ______________a pretty child.
  6. You ______________ safe in the elevator.
  7. Their glass _____________ shiny.
  8. The basketballs ______________ on the floor.
  9. My eye ______________ sore.
  10. April ______________ a warm month.

Simple Past Tense “to be” Video Tutorial

Watch exercises and tutorial here about English grammar Simple Past Tense to be video.

May this Simple Past Tense “to be” video will help you a lot!

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