We’re, Where, were
“They were asking where we’re going.”
It is pretty remarkable the amount of times that you see native speakers making errors with these words.
In the world of autocorrect and light-speed communication, it can be a real issue for those with large thumbs. Many an error needs to be corrected when instant messaging or texting.
For English learners however, this can be a case of genuine confusion. The words have similar appearances. We’ll clear it up for you in the following article so that you are under no illusion as to which one is which.
Now, pay attention here.
The differences are subtle but also extremely important to know. Failure to get these right will cost you in an exam, a negotiation or maybe even in terms of professional reputation. English speakers are expected to know the differences between these words and to use them correctly.
“We’re” is used as a contraction of “we are”. It is a lot easier to use the shortened form rather than writing out the full form over and over again. It is also more natural to speak using the contracted form and you will often see native speakers speaking in this fashion.
Here are some examples of when you would see “we’re”:
“I am glad that we’re finally speaking again.”
“She wanted to check that we’re doing okay.”
“We’re going on holiday this summer.”
“Where” is used to discuss the location of something. More often than not, you would use it to ask a question about where something is or you would use it in a sentence discussing location.
Here are some examples:
“Where are we going tomorrow?”
“It’s over there where the library was built.”
“Where do you like to eat?
“Were” is used to talk in the past tense.
You can use “were” as a second person singular, a second person plural or even in the subjunctive form of “to be”.
Here are some examples:
Second person singular: “You were going to the bank yesterday.”
Second person plural: “They were at the park.”
Subjunctive: “If it were cheaper, I would’ve bought it.”
It is easy to see from each of these words that they are extremely different. Thus, it is important to make sure you are using the correct word for the correct situation.
Arguably, the most important factor comes down to the different definitions but if you are ever in doubt, you can pronounce the words out loud.
The words all have completely different sounds.
In a way, this can make it even easier to separate them when writing. Try to read your writing aloud after the sentence is complete and check if you are conveying the correct message.
As stated in the introduction, the similar spelling of the words can be enough to mix anybody up. Native speakers regularly write these with mistakes in the heat of the moment. The important part is checking over anything and everything that you write, particularly as an English learner.
So, go away and practice these regularly. You should be working on perfecting your English wherever possible.
To practice, take the three words and put them into sentences. Each time you get the usage correct, you can move on to a different situation with different context. This type of exercise will ensure that you feel comfortable in any possible encounter.