Syntax is a fascinating element of writing. The order in which you write emphasizes certain words and ideas, which is why we use active and passive voice. But how do we use the phrase “was also?”
It is correct to say “was also” in a sentence. The term combines the past continuous auxiliary verb “was” and the adverb of addition, “also.” It indicates a subject’s repetition of an action or behavior. Don’t confuse “was also” and “also was” as each emphasizes different elements by word order.
Continue reading to learn more about how to use “was also” correctly.
What Does “Was Also” Mean?
“Was also” indicates that something or someone shares a similar quality or behaves similarly to a previously mentioned subject. Adding the auxiliary irregular verb “was” points to a specific action or state of being.
When you use the verb “was,” you are writing sentences about something that has happened or existed in the past. “Was” is the irregular verb form of “be,” and an irregular verb is a verb that does not follow the rules of adding “-ed” to the verb (source).
Because “also” is an adverb of addition, it means that an action or behavior repeats by someone else or they are encountering a similar situation. It means “in addition to” or “too.” It can also mean “similarly” when indicating something is the same (source).
“Was also” tells us that an action is taking place again, but it happened in the past. Its focus is on the verb and not necessarily on the subject.
- I was also crying when he went to the funeral
- When the teacher passed the papers out, he was also sweating.
- It was also confusing everyone because the question did not make sense.
As you can see, “was also” focuses on the verb directly following after it, which you should write in the continuous form. However, you can follow “was also” with a noun or adjective. This choice indicates a shared characteristic.
- He was also tired.
- Chloe was also a doctor.
- She was also upset at what had happened.
Even in these examples, “was also” focuses on the subject feeling the same adjective or being the same noun (usually an occupation).
How Do You Use “Was Also”?
“Was also” has a particular usage. Sometimes, it creates the past continuous tense in a sentence, and in that case, you should always follow it with a continuous verb form that ends with “-ing.” It also indicates that the subject previously shared a characteristic or feeling with another subject.
You use “was also” when you want to suggest that the subject is not alone in their experiences.
When writing about a plural subject, the phrase will change to “were also,” but the meaning remains the same, and the focus is still on the action (red). For example:
- He was also running late that day.
- Charlotte was also willing to come alone when the event took place.
- They were also going to the party when the police raided it.
Since “was also” focuses on the verb following, it should always be in the continuous form to emphasize the action taking place. Using the continuous tense in the present tense shows that an action is taking place presently.
However, when you use past continuous tense, it provides information about something that took place in the past. The following sentence describes the weather conditions and tells us that the rain occurred over a period of time in the past.
- It was also raining last night.
It can also show something taking place until the next event stops it. For example, in the following sentence, we see an action taking place until it is interrupted.
- He was also laughing until a bug flew into his mouth
The past continuous tense can also be specific about the timing of an event.
- At 8:15 AM, he was rushing to work.
Finally, you can use it to show an action that was consistent or habitual in the past.
- Dan was chewing gum every day in class.
Note that adding “also” does not change how you use “was.”
However, not every sentence that includes “was also” needs to be followed by a continuous verb. You can use a noun or adjective after it as well. The noun or adjective shows that the subject has similar characteristics to another person or subject.
When Can You Use “Was Also”?
“Was also” always appears after the subject and before the verb ending with “-ing” or the noun or adjective that describes the subject.
The combination of “subject” + “was also” + “verb + -ing” can appear at any point in the sentence, as long as the rest of the sentence is grammatically accurate. The subject (purple) and the continuous verb (red) show how the syntax remains the same.
- Linda was also sleeping.
- Although Linda was also sleeping, he made a lot of noise.
- He entered the room and noticed that Linda was also sleeping.
The same rules apply when you follow the subject and “was also” with a noun. For example, “Charlie was also a painter.”
“Was Also” versus “Also Was”
While these two phrases may look like they mean the same thing, they point at different sentence elements. “Was also” focuses on the verb/adjective/noun that follows the phrase, while “also was” focuses on providing more information.
The main difference between “was also” and “also was” is their meanings.
“Was also” means that the subject shares a similar characteristic to someone/something mentioned previously. For example, “Aurora was cooking in the kitchen. Lucy was also cooking.”
However, “also was” provides additional information about the subject. It can provide additional information about another subject, too.
- Ella was the head of marketing. She also was responsible for all broadcasting.
- He was planning a party and knew that Alicia also was going to be there.
- He felt sick and hungry. Yet, Jamie also was having a bad day.
A more appropriate place to use “also was” is at the end of the clause. For example, “Mary was loved by everyone in the office. Patricia also was.”
However, one thing to note is that “also was” is a rare phrase and has become awkward-sounding, especially when speaking because it is in the passive voice.
The passive voice is when something or someone is receiving an action rather than performing it. Using “also was” often triggers the passive voice, which is unacceptable in every context.
Still, sometimes, “was also” and “also was” are interchangeable, and you will see both forms. When in doubt, use “was also,” which is less clunky and in the more acceptable active voice.
In What Context Can You Use “Was Also”?
You can use “was also” when discussing a situation that took place in the past. You may also use it to provide information about a subject in the same context as another subject. We use “was also” in both spoken and written communication.
You use “was also” when you want to provide additional information about someone.
- John was a carpenter. He was also able to chop down trees.
- He walked into the room, and everyone stared at him as he was also handsome.
- She knew what she wanted and was also aware of what she had to do to get it.
Additionally, you can use “was also” when you need to say that someone shares a similarity or is doing the same thing as someone else.
- Gabriel was an excellent cook. His sister was also one.
- They were all going to the mall. John was also going to join them later.
- She was the head of her department. He was also the head of his.
You are using “was also” correctly if you use it in these two situations.
When Not to Use “Was Also”
It is not appropriate to use “was also” when speaking in the present or future tense. You should also avoid the term when providing information about someone or something without a previous, related situation that provides context for the use of “also.”
Therefore, a sentence like “Jacob was also coming” does not make sense until we know what occasion Jacob is going to and who else he shares this similarity with – otherwise, it is ambiguous.
Further, “was also” cannot be a standalone phrase, so you need to use it in a complete sentence.
Since “was also” should follow a subject, can you use different pronouns as subjects? Read “Can We Say “You Was”?” to find out.
What Can You Use Instead of “Was Also”?
The two most common synonyms for “was also” are “too” and “as well” if you are referring to a similar behavior or action. If you are referring to providing additional information, then you can use “additionally” or “furthermore” as well as “too” or “as well.”
Their function is to provide a similar meaning to “also,” but you would have to modify the sentence yourself to keep it in the past tense.
In most cases, you will be able to keep “was” as part of the phrase, but you may have to change the syntax to make it grammatically accurate.
When using “too,” you may have to offset the word with commas as it provides extra information, and you would shift “was” to before the “-ing” verb.
- Charles was also dancing at the party.
- Charles, too, was dancing at the party.
In the case of “as well,” it may be better to change the word order, using the phrase at the end of the sentence.
- I was also feeling hungry after seeing the commercial.
- I, too, was feeling hungry after seeing the commercial.
- I was feeling hungry after seeing the commercial as well.
When providing additional information about the same subject, you can use “additionally” or “furthermore.” These words are generally quite formal, however. You can use “too,” “as well,” and “plus” for more informal phrasing.
- Mary was also a baker.
- Furthermore, Mary was a baker.
- Plus, Mary was a baker.
Your choice depends on the purpose and formality of your text, so choose whichever works best.
Using “Was Also” in a Full Sentence
“Was also” functions as a phrase that always appears after a subject. After “was also,” you can use a continuous verb, a noun, or an adjective.
The purpose of “was also” is to provide extra information or to indicate that a secondary subject has the same qualities as someone you mentioned earlier.
|Eve was also going to be late.||Similarity: Eve is as late as someone else.|
|Jack was a painter; he was also a graphic designer.||Additional information: Jack has many talents, including painting and graphic design.|
|John was also an only child.||Similarity/additional information: John is an only child like someone else, or this is additional information provided about John’s family history. The sentence is ambiguous without preceding information.|
You should be careful about the type of information you provide to ensure that the sentence is specific and provides the correct context.
If you are struggling with other forms of “was” and whether you can only apply it to past tense forms, read “Is “Was Only” Past Tense?”
“Was” is the irregular past tense form of “be.” While you would usually follow regular verbs with “-ed” (such as “play” becoming “played” in the past tense), irregular verbs follow different rules without a specific pattern.
Other irregular verbs include words that change from one vowel to another in their past tense forms. For example, “become” becomes “became,” and “wake” becomes “woke.”
Others, like “be,” change form completely. “Go” becomes “went,” and “seek” becomes “sought.” Others remain the same, like “shut” and “spread,” which are the same in both the present and past tense forms.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
With the verb “be,” the past tense form is “was” or “were,” and the past participle form is “been.”
You should understand that “was also” has two functions: to provide extra information about a subject or to compare two subjects in the past. It is not a complex phrase, and the main rule is that it should appear directly after the subject.
Now that you’ve mastered “was also,” you can use this phrase in a sentence to tell us more about your subject.