Past Simple tense – to be

by John February 12, 2021

Welcome to another blog post from Central school of English, Dublin.

Do you know how to talk about the past?

After this blog, you’ll be able to speak about the past tense easily. It’ll be a breeze.

Past simple

We use the past simple to talk about what happened in the past.

When we use the verb to be in the past, we talk about where we were.
For example: Now, I am at home, writing this blog.

Yesterday, I was at home too.

So, you see, the verb to beam – changes to – was.

Present                                                      Past

I am                                                            I was

You are                                                       You were

He/She/It is                                                He/She/It was

We are                                                        We were

You are                                                       You were

They are                                                      They were

Past simple - to be

We use to be in the past simple to talk about where we were in the past.

For example: I was in the supermarket yesterday.

Past time expressions

We often use the past simple tense with time expressions which help us understand that it was in the past.
The example I used earlier was yesterday.

Sometimes we have specific words like yesterday, but we often put the word last before a time, e.g Last week.

Here are some more examples with last:

Last night

Last month 

Last year

Last summer

Note: It is important to say Last and not The last.
For example: Last summer, I was in Ireland. The last summer, I was in Ireland.


We can also use the word ago to talk about a period of time before now.

1 hour ago.

2 weeks ago.

7 years ago.

Test Yourself

Complete the sentences using was or were .

Example: 1 year ago…

Answer: 1 year ago I was in America.


  1. Last Year…
  2. 2 weeks ago…
  3. Last week…
  4. 1 month ago…


To make a question with the verb to be in the past, we use Was/were followed by a subject:

Were you in the house yesterday?


Was I

Were You

Was He/She/It

Were we

Were you

Were they

Test Yourself

Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.


Past simple - to be

1 / 8

The were at the cinema __________.

2 / 8

_______ you at home when she called?

3 / 8

They ______ at school yesterday.

4 / 8

____ the president at the meeting last month?

5 / 8

I _____ at home yesterday.

6 / 8

______ the students in the class 3 days ago?

7 / 8

_______ Christmas, we were at my friend's house.

8 / 8

_____ we at the party last year?

Your score is

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Past simple - To be


To be a breeze: extremely easy.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog on the past simple with the verb to be.

Thank you for reading our post. You’ll find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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