Negative Be Verbs in the Past Tense

Past Tense - Lesson #4

In the last lesson, we learned how to make sentences with the verb "to be" in the past tense. If you know how to do that, then making a negative sentence is very easy.

Put "not" after the "be verb" to make the sentence negative.

Subject + be verb + not…
  • I was not tired this morning.
  • He was not sick yesterday.
  • She was not nice when we were young.
  • They were not happy about the news.
  • You were not an inconvenience. We were happy that you came.
  • Tim and Sue were not friends in college.
In negative sentences in the past tense, you can use the contractions "wasn't" and "weren't".

was not wasn'twere not weren't
  • I wasn't excited about going to the party.
  • You weren't a good worker.
  • He wasn't nice.
  • Mary wasn't friendly when I met her.
  • They weren't happy about the flight cancellation.
Note: Remember that you cannot make contractions with positive past tense sentences, but you can use contractions with negative sentences.

Example Sentences
  • I was not happy with the result of my test.
  • I was not sad when I heard the news.
  • I wasn't ready to go, but I had no choice.
  • I wasn't surprised to hear that.

  • You were not ready on time.
  • You were not prepared for your test.
  • You weren't sick, so why didn't you come?
  • You weren't very big when you were young.

  • We were not awake at 1 a.m.
  • We were not volunteers.
  • Tim and I weren't guests at the party.
  • We weren't angry about the accident.

  • He was not nice.
  • Jon was not a good friend of mine when we were young.
  • He wasn't an engineer before. He was a researcher.
  • Pat wasn't a hard worker before he had kids.

  • My grandmother was not very tall.
  • She was not talkative.
  • Tina wasn't a middle school teacher. She was a high school teacher.
  • She wasn't hard to work with. She was very nice to me.

  • The computer was not cheap. It was really expensive.
  • It was not rainy yesterday. It was sunny and hot.
  • The dog wasn't sick yesterday.
  • It wasn't ready the last time that I checked.
  • Yesterday was fun.
  • The last meeting was boring.

  • The boys were not good students when they were in high school.
  • They were not black. They were red.
  • The comedians weren't funny at the comedy show.
  • They weren't angry.
English Conversation 1

A) The restaurant wasn't very good.
B) Why do you say that?
A) The food wasn't good and the service was terrible.
B) I liked my food. What did you order?
A) I had a hamburger. It wasn't delicious and it was a little cold.
B) That doesn't sound good at all. I guess we will not go there again.

English Conversation 2

A) I wasn't in a good mood yesterday. Sorry if I was not nice to you.
B) You weren't mean to me. Why were you in a bad mood yesterday?
A) Nothing particular. Just everything was terrible yesterday.
B) Like what?
A) I missed the bus in the morning, my boss yelled at me, I forgot my lunch, and a few other things happened.
B) I can understand why you felt bad.

Learn to speak English fluently with these simple exercises. Practice by finishing the sentences below and then practice making your own sentences. It is the best way to learn English fast!

Tip: Say the sentences aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your pronunciation and fluency. Reading and speaking aloud helps your tongue get used to making English sounds.

I was not _______________.
I wasn't _______________ yesterday.
My friends were not _______________ when we were young.
My boss/teacher was _______________ last week.
My father and mother weren't _______________.
The weather was _______________ yesterday.
The last movie I saw was _______________.
My dinner last night was _______________.
Yesterday was not _______________.
Last week wasn't _______________.