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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: We're, were or where?

The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Pa...Image via Wikipedia
We're, were or where?
Homonyms (words that sound alike but which have different meanings) cause much misunderstanding amongst those learning the language. They should be familiar to native speakers, but seem to confuse a lot of folk. Here are some suggestions to help in remembering the correct usage for each.

'We're' is a contraction of the phrase 'We are.' If the phrase can be used in place of the word, then this is the one you need.
'We're (we are) all going to march on Parliament to protest about the way MPs have been making fraudulent claims for living expenses.'

'Were' is the past tense of 'are' and is used to describe something that has happened in the past.
'We were going to the Houses of Parliament to protest, but we are now going to the pub instead.'

'Where' is a locational term, in common with 'here' and 'there'. It can be used in a question about the location of something or it can identify the placing of a person or object.
'Where are the houses of Parliament?' 'Here they are; on the banks of the Thames, in London.'
'The Houses of Parliament are where British MPs sit to make laws intended to keep them in power and positions of privilege.'

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