Dictionary.com

were

[ wur; unstressed wer; British also wair ]
/ wɜr; unstressed wər; British also wɛər /
Save This Word!

verb
a second person singular past indicative; first, second, and third person plural past indicative; and past subjunctive of be.

VIDEO FOR WERE

Here's A Little Reminder About "Were" Vs. "Was"

This man had a serious debate over using "were" vs. "was" ... at the pub. Makes sense. Did he figure it out?

MORE VIDEOS FROM DICTIONARY.COM
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of were

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English wǣre past subjunctive, wǣre past indicative second person singular and wǣron past indicative plural of wesan “to be”; cognate with Dutch, German waren, Danish var. See was

grammar notes for were

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH were

we're, were , where

Other definitions for were (2 of 2)

we're
[ weer ]
/ wɪər /

contraction of we are:We're happy to see you.

usage note for we're

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH we're

we're , were, where
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use were in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for were (1 of 2)

were
/ (wɜː, unstressed ) /

verb
the plural form of the past tense (indicative mood) of be and the singular form used with you. It is also used as a subjunctive, esp in conditional sentences

Word Origin for were

Old English wērun, wæron past tense plural of wesan to be; related to Old Norse vera, Old Frisian weria, Old High German werōn to last

usage for were

Were, as a remnant of the past subjunctive in English, is used in formal contexts in clauses expressing hypotheses (if he were to die, she would inherit everything), suppositions contrary to fact (if I were you, I would be careful), and desire (I wish he were there now). In informal speech, however, was is often used instead

British Dictionary definitions for were (2 of 2)

we're
/ (wɪə) /

contraction of
we are
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK