Lesson 42

The Past Simple with "Was" and "Were"

Level: Pre-Intermediate
Lesson contents:
  • Were you good at school?
  • The past simple of be.
  • Past Simple grammar recap.
  • US grading system.
  • So + auxiliary verb + subject for agreeing with someone (so was he, so were they...).
  • I think so, I don't think so.
  • A "good boy" vs "good academically".
  • Vocabulary: Pretty good, hopeless, so-so, just as adjectives.
  • Inflection: WAS I good at school?

Always watch the video several times without subtitles first. Train your ears! Your pronunciation will be much better if you follow this simple rule.

Exercises for this lesson:
How to do the lessons:
  1. Watch the video without subtitles.
  2. Do all the Exercises.
  3. Come back to this page.
  4. Watch the video with English Subtitles. Use the Pause button. People speak fast!

Problems? See general support or ask your question here.

The Simple Past with "Was" and "Were"
Were you good at School?

Watch this video, then click on Exercise 1

Same video with Precise Subtitles



A lot of spontaneous reactions and therefore new vocabulary, helps make this simple question an interesting one. People take their school days seriously in our experience. I was frankly surprised by many relatively emotional reactions.

"So" is used in about 20 different ways, and this lesson illustrates 3 of the most important ones.

One interviewee asked us to be more precise. The interviewer asks: "Were you good at school?" and David asks: "What do you mean by "good"? Was I good at the academic side of it, or was I a good boy?", providing us with a common, but interesting distinction.