English Daily Workout: Simple Past: Questions and Negative Statements with the Verb "to be"

Simple Past: Questions and Negative Statements with the Verb "to be"

English Grammar Lesson and Exercise on the Simple Past: How to Make Questions and Negative Statements  with verb "TO BE"



Questions and negative statements

The Simple Present and Simple Past of the verb to be do not use auxiliaries to form questions and negative statements. Instead, the verb itself is used.

The verb to be forms questions and negative statements in the same way in the Simple Past as in the Simple Present. In order to form a question, the verb is placed before the subject. For example:



Affirmative StatementQuestion
  I was awake.                                                                 Was I awake?
  They were ready.  Were they ready?

In order to form a negative statement, the word not is placed after the verb. For example:


Affirmative StatementNegative Statement
  I was awake.                                                       I was not awake.
 They were ready.  They were not ready.

In spoken English, the following contractions are often used:


Without ContractionsWith Contractions
  was not                                                                    wasn't
  were not  weren't

In order to form a negative question, the verb is placed before the subject, and the word not is placed after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not immediately follows the verb. For example:


Without ContractionsWith Contractions
  Was I not awake?                                                                 Wasn't I awake?
  Were they not ready?  Weren't they ready?

In order to form tag questions, the verb itself is used. In the following examples, the negative tag questions are underlined. Contractions are usually used in negative tag questions.



Affirmative StatementAffirmative Statement with Tag Question
  I was awake.                                                                I was awake, wasn't I?
  They were ready.  They were ready, weren't they?

Exercise

Rewrite the following affirmative statements as questions, negative statements, negative questions without contractions, negative questions with contractions, and affirmative statements followed by negative tag questions.
For example:
      You were on time.
      Were you on time?
      You were not on time.
      Were you not on time?
      Weren't you on time?
      You were on time, weren't you?

It was warm enough.
      Was it warm enough?
      It was not warm enough.
      Was it not warm enough?
      Wasn't it warm enough?
      It was warm enough, wasn't it?




Answers: 
1. Was I late? I was not late. Was I not late? Wasn't I late? I was late, wasn't I? 

2. Were they in a hurry? They were not in a hurry. Were they not in a hurry? Weren't they In a hurry? They were in a hurry, weren't they? 

3. Was he an artist? He was not an artist. Was he not an artist? Wasn't he an artist? He was an artist, wasn't he? 

4. Were we right? We were not right. Were we not right? Weren't we right? We were right, weren't we? 

5. Was she there? She was not there. Was she not there? Wasn't she there? She was there, wasn't she?