We’re vs We are: Clear the Confusion

Some spellings and grammar rules in the English language can be confusing for non-native speakers. There are words with similar sounds and spellings like “we’re,” “we are,” and “where.”

We’re vs We are: How to choose the correct word?

We’re” is a common contraction for “we are” but in some cases for “we were.” The apostrophe replaces the omitted letter ‘a’ in “we are” and “we” in “we were.”

Use “we’re” if you want to write the shortened version of the first-person plural form “we” and the irregular “be” verb “are.”

However, “we are” is most commonly used in formal writing, whereas “we’re” is preferred for informal writing. Contractions are a type of informal language for more personal or friendly communication.

A silver framed eyeglasses placed on a white printer paper
Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

We’re and were: Understand the Difference & Usage

Use “we’re” to talk about anything happening at the moment or in the future. But to talk about something that happened in the past, use “were.” To understand the difference, try replacing the word you’ve written with “we are.” If the meaning gets distorted, know that you need to omit the apostrophe.

How to use “we’re.”

“We’re” is a contraction made from the two words we and are.

Example: We’re going on a vacation tomorrow.

The above sentence is a perfectly correct English statement where you are saying, “We are going on a vacation tomorrow.”

How to use “were.”

Wereis the plural past tense of the verb “are.” It is also the second-person singular past, plural past, and subjunctive of the “to be” verb. The verb to be is one of the most flexible in the English language, but it’s also one of the most difficult to grasp. You can use “were” as a past tense in the following cases.

Case 1: First-person plural of “be” verb.

Example: We were exhausted after the journey.

Case 2: Second-person singular and plural of “be” verb.

Example: You were exhausted after the journey.

Case 3: Third-person plural of “be” (They “were” busy last week.)

Example: They were exhausted after the journey.

Case 4: Subjunctive of “be” verb for all person. 

Example: If I were you, I would not have trusted her anymore.

To Wrap Up

The web is full of misconceptions and unclear speech because so many people blur the lines between “we’re” and “we are.”

The difference between the two can seem subtle, but there is a big difference. This article provides a run-down on we re vs we are to help you learn the usage of these words in the English language.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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