Guide to There Was and There Were

There was and There were
There were five ducks in the Lake

There Was and There Were

Learning how to use there was and there were isn’t that difficult if you already know how to use there is and there are.

We use there is for a singular object in the present tense and there are for plural objects in the present.

In the past tense we use there was for a singular object and there were for plural objects

There was is used when you refer to one thing or person.

For example: There was a party last night

There were is used when you refer to more than one thing or person.

For example: There were some problems with the delivery

There was and There Were Examples

These are some examples of sentences using there was and there were

PluralThere wereThere were 3 strangers outside the office
SingularThere wasThere was a stranger outside the house
PluralWere there?Were there 3 strangers outside the house?
SingularWas there?Was there a stranger outside the house?

Postive Statements with There Was and There Were

This is the way to make affirmative sentences with there was and there were

There+Verb to beComplement
There+wasa book.
There+weretwo people 

Examples

Check these examples of sentences using there was and there were.

  1. There was a cat in the house.
  2. There was  money in the safe.
  3. There was a dog barking at us.
  4. There was a grocery store right there.
  5. There was a dog in the street.
  6. There were two police officers waiting for you outside.
  7. There were three friends of mine who wanted to do that.
  8. There were a lot of people outside the house
  9. There were many stores around here.
  10. There were 7 fish in the fish tank

Negative Statements with There Was and There Were

This is the way to make affirmative sentences with there was and there were

There+Verb to beComplement
There+wasn’ta book.
There+weren’ttwo people 

Examples

Check these examples of negative sentences using there was and there were.

  1. There wasn’t any money in the bank.
  2. There wasn’t any information in the file.
  3. There wasn’t a christmas tree in the living room
  4. There wasn’t a black chair in the store
  5. There weren’t many options available to us.
  6. There weren’t many movies to watch online.
  7. There weren’t any fans in the store.
  8. There weren’t any white chairs in the restaurant
  9. There weren’t any improvements in 2019.
  10. There weren’t any attempts to fix the problem.

Questions with There Was and There Were

This is the way to make questions with there was and there were

Verb to be+ThereComplement ?
Was+therea book.?
Were+theretwo people?

Examples

Check these examples of questions using there was and there were.

  1. Was there a man standing here?
  2. Was there a soccer player in the hotel?
  3. Was there a museum in that old town?
  4. Was there a lot of food at the party?
  5. Were there many police officers around here?
  6. Were there many people working in the bank?
  7. Were there two police officers at the station?
  8. Were there other factory workers in the construction site?
  9. Were there many things to do?
  10. Was there a great depressions 100 years ago ?

Questions and Answers

A: Were there a lot of people at the party ?

B: No, there weren’t.

A: Was there a lot of food at the party?

B: Yes, there was.

Questions with How Many?

These are some example of questions using there was and there were

  1. How many dogs were there in the park?
  2. How many students were there in your class?
  3. How many drinks were there in the restaurant?
  4. How many people were there in the concert?
  5. How many films were there?
  6. How many soldiers were there in the field?
  7. How many patients were there in the Emergency room?

Questions with How Much ?

These are some example of questions using there was and there were

  1. How much money was there in your bank account?
  2. How much crime was there in New York city?
  3. How much pollution was there in China?
  4. How much sugar was there in the refrigerator?
  5. How much traffic was there on the way to work?

Questions Tags: There Was and There Were

tag question is a grammatical structure in which a declarative or an imperative statement is turned into interrogative fragment

  1. There was a good film on Netflix last night, wasn’t there?
  2. There wasn’t any time to go to the beach, was there?
  3. There wasn’t any food, was there?
  4. There were a lot of people here today, weren’t there?
  5. There weren’t any options for me, were there?
  6. There were many people at the concert, weren’t there?

Remember that if the sentence is affirmative, the question tag will then be negative and if the sentence is negative, the question tag will be affirmative.

There was and There Were Exercises

These are some exercises to practice the use of there was and there were

  1. Oxford University Press – There was and There were
  2. Using English – There was and There were
  3. SuperProf – There be
EnglishPost.org

Learn More about Grammar

There are more grammar lessons in EnglishPost.org

Check this list of conversational questions