Difference between were and where
Were vs where:
‘Were’ and ‘where’ are two words which share similar spellings as well as similar pronunciation. Because of this factor, these two words often tend to get confused with each other in the mind of many. However, it is important that the difference between these two words is distinguished as they are both used in completely different contexts which have no connection with each other whatsoeverr.
What is ‘were’?
‘Were’ is the past plural tense of the verb ‘be’ and it is often used for referring to an incident regarding several entities which happened in the past. Observe the following sentences for example.
They were on that hill when we last saw them.
Both the boy and the girl were tall.
They were handsome men.
In the above sentences, the verb ‘were’ is used to indicate plural entities in the past tense. However, the verb ‘were’ can also be used as an auxiliary. Observe the following examples.
They were climbing that tree when I last saw them.
Peter and Mary were holding hands.
In the above sentences, the subject is plural and the verb ‘were’ is used as an auxiliary in the past continuous tense. However, the verb ‘were’ can also be used in a past subjunctive sense. For example, let us look at the following sentences.
If I were rich, I would build a home for the poor.
If she were prettier, she would have been married off sooner.
What is where?
‘Where’ is an adverb which is used to describe a location or a place of an object or a person. It forms one of the five ‘W questions’ – Who, When, Where, Why and What. It can be used in sentences as well as in questions.
This is where I was born.
The library is where you can find Sophie during this time.
I was wondering where you were.
All the above sentences pertain to a place or a location. ‘Where’ can also be used when asking a question. Observe the following sentences.
Where is my pen?
Where is Kevin? We have been looking all over for him.
Where can I find the washrooms?
The above sentences all pertain to a place or a location as well and in these sentences, ‘where’ is used to ask a question rather than to make a statement.
What is the difference between where and were?
The main difference between ‘where’ and ‘were’ would be the fact that while ‘where’ is an adverb, ‘were’ is merely a verb which is the past plural tense of ‘to be’. Let us observe the differences between the ways in which they are used.
‘Were’ is used to indicate the plurality of the subject of a sentence whereas ‘where’ does not indicate such a thing. Even in sentences where the subject is in plural or singular form, ‘where’ remains the same. However, if the subject is singular in a sentence, ‘were’ changes to ‘was’.
Where is my pen?
Where are my books?
We were here.
She was here.
The above sentences indicate how ‘where’ does not change even though the subjects change from singular to plural. ‘Were’ however, does change whenever the subject changes.
Another difference between the two is the fact that while ‘were’ is used to make a statement, ‘where’ can be used to ask a question. In that sense ‘where’ is rather versatile in being able to be used in statements as well as in questions.
This is where I first saw her.
Is this where he died?
The above sentences are examples of how where can be used in asking a question. However, ‘were’ too can be used to ask questions once the position of the word has been changed. And yet, it is not essentially a part of the five W questions which are the five main words which one uses to ask questions.
Were you there when they came in?
Were they the ones who stole the car?