Key Difference – Had vs Was
Had and was are the past tense forms of have and be, respectively. These two stative verbs are two of the commonly used verbs in the English language. In terms of meaning, the difference between had and was stems from the difference between have and be; have indicates a possession or ownership whereas be indicates a state of being. In addition, had can be used with singular and plural subjects whereas was can only be used with singular subjects.
What Does Had Mean?
Had is the past tense of the verb have. Although the verb have has singular and plural forms in the present tense (has and have), had can be used with both singular and plural subjects. This verb can be used in the simple past tense of the verb have to indicate ownership or possession. For example,
He had three children and thirteen dogs.
I had an old car that belonged to my dad.
She had a beautiful jade necklace.
He had killed men.
She had completed her homework.
Formation: Had +Past Participle
Past Perfect Continuous:
They had been waiting for you.
He had been practicing all morning.
Formation: Had + been + Present Participle
What Does Was Mean?
Was is a past tense of the verb be. To be more specific it is the past tense of is, and can only be used with singular subjects. Be is a stative verb and is used to describe thoughts, emotions, relationships, senses, states of being and measurements. For example,
He is Marian’s husband.
She is excited about the trip.
He is 6 feet tall.
There is no correct answer.
Since be is the most used auxiliary verb in the English language, was too occurs as an auxiliary verb in the past continuous tense. In addition, it is also used in the formation of passive sentences.
Past Continuous Tense:
He was staring at her.
I was listening to music.
Formation: was + present participle
Mr. Anderson fired Mary.→ Mary was fired by Mr. Anderson.
She ate the whole cake. → The whole cake was eaten by her.
What is the difference between Had and Was?
Have vs Be:
Had is the past tense of have.
Was is the past tense of be (is).
Singular vs Plural:
Had can be used with singular and plural subjects.
Was is only used with singular subjects.
Had indicates possession or ownership.
Was indicates a state of being.
Had is used as an auxiliary verb for past perfect tenses.
Was is used as an auxiliary verb for past continuous tense.Image Courtesy: “683072” (Public Domain) via Pixbay “1503121” (Public Domain) via Pixbay