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  1. #1
    PlacidRan's Avatar
    PlacidRan is offline Senior Member
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    WERE vs. WAS?

    I dreamt of a place. There (WERE or WAS) just two of us.

  2. #2
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by placidran View Post
    I dreamt of a place. There (WERE or WAS) just two of us.
    Thank you for the fascinating question. My immediate reaction is that one would only say, There were just two of us. And I assume that is correct for the situation you describe.

    However, if you change "there" to "it" you get quite a different situation.

    "It was just two of us sitting together listening to the band." (You will find many better examples of you google the phrase.)

    Does "there" somehow change it to plural? I can't imagine why this would be the case.

    So I confess to being a little confused here. In the example I cited, for instance, it may be a case of the shortening of the phrase, "It was just the two of us..." This would tend to make it singular.

    But perhaps others can find the rule here.

  3. #3
    PlacidRan's Avatar
    PlacidRan is offline Senior Member
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Thank you very much.

  4. #4
    Atchan is offline Key Member
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    TENSES

    Past continuous - form
    The past continuous of any verb is composed of two parts : the past tense of the verb to be (was/were), and the base of the main verb +ing.

    Past continuous, function
    The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and was still going on at the time of speaking. In other words, it expresses an unfinished or incomplete action in the past.

    It is used:
    1) often, to describe the background in a story written in the past tense, e.g. "The sun was shining and the birds were singing as the elephant came out of the jungle. The other animals were relaxing in the shade of the trees, but the elephant moved very quickly. She was looking for her baby, and she didn't notice the hunter who was watching her through his binoculars. When the shot rang out, she was running towards the river..."

    2) to describe an unfinished action that was interrupted by another event or action: "I was having a beautiful dream when the alarm clock rang."

    3) to express a change of mind: e.g. "I was going to spend the day at the beach but I've decided to go on an excursion instead."

    4) with 'wonder', to make a very polite request: e.g. "I was wondering if you could baby-sit for me tonight."

    More examples:
    a) They were waiting for the bus when the accident happened.
    b) Caroline was skiing when she broke her leg.
    c) When we arrived he was having a bath.
    d) When the fire started I was watching television.

    Note: with verbs not normally used in the continuous form, the simple past is used.
    Last edited by Atchan; 11-Jul-2010 at 00:14.

  5. #5
    Bright One is offline Junior Member
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Thank you for the fascinating question. My immediate reaction is that one would only say, There were just two of us. And I assume that is correct for the situation you describe.

    However, if you change "there" to "it" you get quite a different situation.

    "It was just two of us sitting together listening to the band." (You will find many better examples of you google the phrase.)

    Does "there" somehow change it to plural? I can't imagine why this would be the case.

    So I confess to being a little confused here. In the example I cited, for instance, it may be a case of the shortening of the phrase, "It was just the two of us..." This would tend to make it singular.

    But perhaps others can find the rule here.

    So, the rule here, if I use "there" then I use were/are with plural following but when I use "it" I take was/is?

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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bright One View Post
    So, the rule here, if I use "there" then I use were/are with plural following but when I use "it" I take was/is?
    No, I did not mean to say that. I simply raised it as a question. I hope others can give an answer.

  7. #7
    Bright One is offline Junior Member
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Well then, I hope someone will help!

    I face this confusion a lot and I really need to know the answer here

    Thank you

  8. #8
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: WERE vs. WAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by placidran View Post
    I dreamt of a place. There WERE just two of us.
    There was just one apple (in the bowl).
    There were just two apples (in the bowl).
    2006

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