Difference between Was and Had | Was vs Had

Most kids have used these words, but there are times when they use them incorrectly. Now how would you teach a primary kid where to use ‘was’ or ‘had’. No doubt there are few grammatical rules to remember when and where these words are used. But it becomes tough for the children to remember such rules. So how would you teach a kid when to use ‘was’ and ‘had’? This article will talk about some points that one needs to remember while using these words.

Apart from these words, there are phrases/words in the English Language which have always confused students. To avoid confusion while using those types of words, one must know the meaning of such words. This will help them to use those words correctly in any sentence. In this article, you’ll learn how to use ‘was’ and ‘had’ in a sentence.

Table Summarising the Difference between Was and Had




It is used as a past tense form of the verb ‘be’, and is used with singular subjects. It indicates a state of being in the past.

It is used as the past participle and past tense form of ‘have’, and is used with both singular and plural subjects. It indicates the possession or ownership of something in the past.


It is used as a Verb.

It is used as a Verb.


Bonny was sick on Monday.

They had visited the museum.

This table shows that ‘was’ and ‘had’ though are past tense verbs but can’t be treated as synonymous and can not be used interchangeably. Students who often confuse these words can now use them correctly. Students can download ‘was’ and ‘had’ worksheets from BYJU’S website and practise them so that they can use them correctly.

The Difference between Was and Had – Meaning

‘Was’ is the past form of the verb ‘be’ and can only be used with singular subjects such as He/She/It/I or any other singular subjects. For example, “Robin was present in the movie hall.” Here ‘was’ is used with a singular subject, i.e. Robin, and is used to denote a time in the past. Whereas the word ‘had’ is used as a past participle and past form of the verb ‘have’ and can be used with both singular and plural subjects. For example, “They had gone shopping.” Students should practise worksheets to better understand the concept of ‘was’ and ‘had’.

Example of Was and Had

The following example will help students understand the words ‘was’ and ‘had’.

Was – Mohan was going to the market yesterday. (verb)

Had – i) Sita had bought a cycle. (verb – past tense)

ii) My parents had gone on a tour. (verb – past participle)

Once students understand the difference between the words ‘was’ and ‘had’, they can easily apply them in the proper context.

Was and Had – Conclusion

In conclusion, the words ‘was’ and ‘had’ are not synonymous and can’t be used interchangeably. This article points out the difference with the help of examples between ‘was’ and ‘had’ to make it easy for students to put them in sentences. BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that students often get confused with.

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