Were vs Where | Definition, Differences & Examples For Writers

Have you misused the words “where” and “were” in any way? Don’t worry—many individuals unfamiliar with the English language have encountered perplexity when utilizing this terminology. So how would you respond if someone asked you to explain the differences between the terms “where” vs “were”?

This article is here to help with the right answers. It will help you understand the difference between two of these words and make sure that you don’t make any mistakes while using them.

However, students should use extra caution and knowledge of the meanings of such phrases when employing them. Students can use the words correctly once they understand their meaning. We’ll talk about the following topics regarding the distinctions between “where” and “were.”

What Is The Meaning Of Where?

The adverb “where” is usually used to inquire about a place or location. It all comes down to placement and can be applied in both literal and more abstract circumstances.

“Where did you leave your keys?” is an example. (Questioning where the keys are) What does ‘were’ mean?

READ ALSO: When To Use A Semicolon vs Colon: Breaking Down Semicolons vs. Colons In Everyday Writing

What Is The Meaning of Were?

Conversely, “were” is a verb. It is the past tense of “are,” which is employed with pronouns and plural nouns. The word “were” describes a situation or an event from the past.

For instance: “They were at the park yesterday.” (Suggesting where ‘they’ used to be)

How To Use ‘Were’ In A Sentence

Employ the past tense verb “were” as follows:

  • First-person plural of “be” (We “were” busy last week.)
  • The words “be” in the second person singular and plural (You “were” busy last week.)
  • Third-person plural of “be” (Last week, they “were” busy.)
  • Subjunctive of “be” for every individual (If I “were” you, I’d ask for more money.)

How to Use We’re In A Sentence

Simply use “we’re” when you wish to write or pronounce a shorter version of the first-person plural pronoun “we” and to be verb “are,” since “we’re” is a contraction for “we are” and, in rarer circumstances, “we were.” The letter “a” (for “we are”) or the letter “we” (for “we were, albeit that use is far less common) are replaced by the apostrophe.

  • “We’re” going back to work tomorrow.

In this sentence, which is perfectly acceptable English, you are saying: “We are” going back to work tomorrow.

READ ALSO: When to Use There and Their: Unlocking the Mystery of ‘There’ and ‘Their’

How To Use Where In A Sentence

When describing a location, use “where” as an adverb, as in:

  • I’m not sure “where” you reside.

In this passage, the author admits that she has no idea “where” the listener or reader resides. Additionally, this word is frequently used to begin an inquiry, as in:

  • “Where” do you live?

The speaker is attempting to ascertain the listener’s or reader’s residence by asking where they live in the statement. Often, the one speaking—or even writing, in the case of an email or letter is attempting to ascertain the precise address of the other person.

Related: When to Use ‘Its’ and ‘It’s’: Cracking the Code

How To Remember The Differences Between Were and Where

Try replacing the word were with “we are” to see how “were” and “we’re” differ from one another. You know you can use “we’re” if it works. If not, “were” is required. Take this sentence, for instance:

“We’re” planning a movie night.
If you were to replace “we are” with “we’re,” the phrase would still make sense:

“We are” planning to see a movie.
But if you substitute “were” for “we are,” the sentence falls apart:

“Were” planning a movie night.
Your ears may pick up on something missing from the text if you read it out loud. Yes, it does: You are missing a subject because “were” is a past tense of “to be.”

The sentence would work if you added in the word “we,” as in:

We “were” going to the movies.

When attempting to distinguish between “were,” “we’re,” and “where,” keep in mind that “where” always designates a specific location, whereas “were” and “we’re” are both “to be” verbs, or at least contain a “to be” verb. Thus, finish each phrase with the appropriate terms, as in:

You belong “were”? This represents the past tense of “are.”
Do you reside “were”? In actuality, this signifies that you live “we are?”
These two uses don’t make sense. However, if you say:

“Where” do you reside?
That statement is effective since it ends with the location word “where.” To make things clearer, replace “where” with a location:

Do you reside in California?
Do you reside upstairs?
Do you reside in Europe?
Where do you reside?

Remember this trick, and you’ll never confuse “where” for “were” and “we’re.”

Concentrating on the pronunciation will help you remember the distinction between where and were because they sound different when spoken. Where and there rhyme. were furry rhymes. It’s a good idea to read your statement aloud to make sure you are using the right term.

READ ALSO: When to Use ‘Have’ or ‘Has’: Solving the Verb Puzzle

Where and Were Examples

The following examples will help students understand the words ‘where’ and ‘were’ quite clearly.


  • Where is the church located? (adverb)
  • Study where you want to enjoy. (conjunction)


  • The students were punished for dancing. (verb)
  • You were going to the church yesterday. (verb)

Once students understand the difference between the words ‘where’ and ‘were’, they can easily apply them in the proper contexts.

Where vs Were and Wear vs. We’re

The most typical usage of where is as an adverb to describe a place or a position. Informally, it can also be used as a conjunction in place of “that” or “whereas.” Because of this, the word “where” is frequently used to pose queries like “Where are my socks?” or to express opinions like “Home is where the heart is.”

The verb “was” is the past tense, past subjunctive, and second person singular of the verb “be.” “I was out last night,” for example, becomes “you were out last night,” or “They were out last night.” The pronunciation of “were” is also distinct from that of “where” and “wear,” except the word “werewolf,” which is pronounced similarly.

Wear is both a noun and a verb. When used as a verb, it can signify “to bear or decorate on a body,” as in “to wear clothes,” or “to break something down over time,” as in “to wear down during a physical activity.” Wear is a word that can refer to “signs of being worn down” or “an article of clothing that is worn.”

READ ALSO: “Over” vs “More Than”: How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Typical Errors and How to Prevent Them

Here are a few common misuses of the word were:

  • Misuse in Inquiries: Saying “Were is the library?” is inappropriate. Should I say “Where is the library?” instead?
  • Mixing Up Past and Place: It is not accurate to say “They were at the beach.” The correct phrase is “They were at the beach.”

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I use were?

Were is used for both the second person past tense (you) and the third person plural past tense (they and us), whereas was is the singular past tense of to be. Acts akin to were in the past. Say, “They were at the store,” as an example.

Can you use were in formal writing?

Were is occasionally used in place of ‘was’ when the subject of the clause is I, he, she, it, there, or a singular word, particularly in formal writing. I would act in the same manner if I were in his shoes. Women would gain if the legislation were altered.

Can I say where were we in a sentence?

“Where we were” refers to a location you were at in the past. Ex: Wherever we were, we were content. “Where were we” indicates that you were previously unaware of your position (and you are asking now).

Which is correct, if he was or if he were?

“Were” is the appropriate form to employ since “if” requires the verb “to be” to be in the subjunctive mood. Though technically correct usage isn’t usually followed, I doubt many would notice that the word “was” is incorrect.


It is essential to know the difference between “where” and “were” to communicate clearly and effectively in English. Recall that “were” refers to a previous condition or activity, while “where” refers to a location. You’ll become an expert user of these terms quickly if you practice and pay attention to context.


  • Difference between Where and Were | Where vs Were – byjus.com
  • Where vs. Were vs. Wear vs. We’re (Grammar Rules) – www.writersdigest.com
  • Mastering English: Learn the Difference Between ‘Where’ and ‘Were’ – strategically.co

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