Questions with the verbs WAS and WERE are among the most common in English. Therefore it is vital for students to learn these questions well. They have to be able to form them, understand them and answer them.
To help you teach these types of questions, I have included the following activities in this post: an infographic explaining the grammar, a worksheet, a motivational song, a memory quiz and an online quiz. I hope you will find these useful and that your students will master questions with the verbs WAS and WERE.
Basic grammar rules – infographic
Display the following infographic to your students and explain that questions with WAS and WERE usually start with these words. Elicit that you can add a WH word in front of them.
Basic grammar rules – worksheet
I try to teach the grammar using a topic that the students are interested in. This time I have chosen the topic Selfies.
Start the lesson with the following song and ask the students to complete the lyrics in the first exercise in the worksheet.
Then play the video for the students and ask them to check their answers.
In the second activity, they should work in pairs and discuss the questions about selfies. If you happen to have a group whose English is not very good, have the students ask you the questions. That way you can demonstrate the way they should answer, and at the same time you can clear up the meaning of the questions.
Now ask the students to put the worksheets away and play the following video:
When the video finishes, ask your students to answer the questions as well as they can. Ask them to answer in full. Once they finish this task, tell them to check their answers and count 1 point for each correct YES or NO and 2 points if they gave a full answer (like, Yes, she was.)
Find out the winner and congratulate them.
Play the video again and ask the students to write their own questions for the pictures.
Ask them to work in pairs and to ask and answer their own questions.
In the last exercise, students work in pairs and give true answers to the questions.
Basic grammar rules – online quiz
The following online quiz contains a lot of different tasks which the students can do either as homework or at school. The quiz is in HTML5 and it will play on all digital devices.
Basic grammar rules – links
There are some great activities for learning and practising WAS and WERE at the British Council site.