Are vs Were: Difference and Comparison

Everyone loves to read a beautiful poem or a captivating book from time to time. Many make time for it and are interested in engrossing themselves with literature.

As you develop the habit of reading, you become a wizard of vocabulary words. But sometimes, even avid readers have significant uncertainties, especially with sentence formation and proper grammar.

In English, grammar can be tricky but not so fiddly to understand. There are confusion as to which word is placed where. A common misconception regarding grammar is the usage of the verb ‘are’ and ‘were.’

Though there are only a few comparative talks between them, they seem problematic to match with their corresponding sentences.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Are” functions as a present tense auxiliary verb for the plural subject, indicating ongoing actions or states, whereas “were” is the past tense, the plural form of “to be,” used for actions or states that occurred in the past.
  2. “Are” agrees with plural subjects like “they,” “we,” and “you,” while “were” can be used with both singular and plural subjects in the past tense, such as “I,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “they,” “we,” and “you.”
  3. “Are” is used in making present continuous tense and simple tense sentences, while “were” is employed in past continuous tense and past simple tense constructions.

Are vs Were

The difference between Are and Were lies in the type of tense utilized. So, we can say that the verb ‘are’ is used in the present tense, and the past tense comes with the verb ‘were.’

Are vs Were

Language Quiz

Language quiz helps us to increase our language skills

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I ______ a reply to my letter in the next few days.

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What is a language made up of symbols that represent ideas or objects called?

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Choose the word that means the opposite of "ascend":

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"I don't like coffee." "______ do I."

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What is the term used to describe words that add meaning to sentences, but are not necessary to form a complete sentence?

7 / 10

Choose the word that means the opposite of "approve":

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What is a word or phrase used to describe or evaluate, often in a literary, artistic, or musical context, called?

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Choose the word that is a synonym for "hasten":

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Comparison Table

Parameters of the ComparisonAreWere
When are they used?When confusion arises about whether to use ‘is’ or ‘are’, look at the noun. Singular belongs to the verb ‘is’, and the plural is for the ‘are’ verb.It is used in the second person singular and plural (you, your, yours) and first and third person plural (we, they).
Tense usedThe ‘are’ verb is used in the current situation, i.e., in the present tense.‘Were’ verb has used long-ago, i.e. in the past tense.
ExampleThe protesters are still standing in the sun – Here, the activity is continuing at present.People were walking through the subway – The action is already over in the past.
In singular formIs – The singular form of areWas – The singular form of was


What is Are?

Everyone is placed in a situation or this world for some solid reason. It could be good or bad. Similarly, the purpose of the verb ‘are’ in this world is for two motives.  

Primarily it is used for measurement in the form of a noun. Example: Each mahogany tile is in position. Here are can be defined as a metric component of the calculation.

Another crucial usage of are can be seen in sentences with more than one thing in place. It has the most critical work of joining two sentences in matrimony.

So we can say are plays the role of the marriage officiant. For example, The ladies are getting ready for the party.

You can see how are becomes the connecting verb between ‘The ladies’ and its other half ‘getting ready for the party.’


What is Were?

We always dream of imaginary stuff when we daydream or are just idle. We can say those things are unreal.

They are just pure fantasy. So, with the word were, one can think of much unrealistic stuff like:

  1. If I were a king, I would travel around the world.
  2. If I were a cat, I would sit around lazily.
  3. As a traveller, I would love to see all the oceans one day.

Here we can see how the speaker predicts or thinks it would be good if all of these things came true, but we are not sure it remains an ideological statement.

“Were” is commonly used in a text that involves a higher level of imaginary statements. Factual testimonies use the ‘was’ verb a more significant deal.

The events in ancient times are referred to as the past. So even some sentences have endings that are in the past tense.

Like for example, France and Britain were the ones who determined war against Germany, thus causing World War II.

But if you were to address the same kind of sentence in a singular form, that’s where was comes in. Example: Hitler was the primary cause of World War II.


Main Differences Between Are and Were

  1. ‘Were’ can see its place in unfamiliar and theoretical situations, are can use in reasonable sentences.
  2. The opposite grammatical part of is-is
  3. The opposite grammatical part of was – was
  4. The verb ‘are’ can also be used for an event that was true long ago; for example, My siblings were naughty, but my siblings are no longer annoying.  The verb ‘were’ can be found in old conditions.
  5. The verb ‘are’ seems to have multiple purposes, but ‘were’ is for a sole purpose.
  6. Since ‘be’ is the common verb for both linking verbs, they shouldn’t be considered similar. Is and Are can also call as interrogative words, and were can be used to indicate unreal situations or wishes that might take place. Example: If I were rich and if Lata were cooperative.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 08T164147.047

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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