According to structure of the interrogative sentence for "to be", when I want to ask about a location of a 2nd person then I have to use "were" continuously after "where"

For example:

Where were you yesterday.

Now my question if it's practical for use, or consider as a case of "just in the book" and practically I should avoid it and people actually use other structures like "Where have you been yesterday" in order to avoid this confusing words (where were) together. Or it is very common in use (it's something that I didn't notice...).

  • I am confused. What is your question? "Where were you yesterday?" is the only way to ask that question. [I think you mean "right after where" and not continuously.
    – Lambie
    May 8, 2018 at 14:57
  • I added some information in the end of the post. Kindly look at this and let me know if my question is already more clear (clearer). May 8, 2018 at 15:00
  • 1
    There is nothing confusing about "where were you" at all. In fact, where, when, how, why are all followed by was/were in questions.
    – Lambie
    May 8, 2018 at 15:05
  • Here's a hint that might help you: when we say "yesterday", we're obviously talking about the past. But have is actually in the present tense! That's why "where have you been yesterday?" doesn't work.
    – stangdon
    May 8, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    "Where were you" is not at all confusing for native speakers as it's an expected combination. Other homonyms can be much worse. Anyway the words don't really sound the same.
    – Andrew
    May 8, 2018 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


Question forms: where, when, how, why + finished actions or time periods.

  • Where were you yesterday?
  • When were you here last?
  • Why were you here?
  • How were you the right person for the job?

Where were you yesterday? [yesterday is past]

Where have you been all morning? [It is still morning]

Without going into every single usage of the present perfect, in general, if an action or time period is finished, we use simple past.

Generally, with time limiters like yesterday, two days ago, last month, last week, we use simple past. The simple past for the verb to be is "was" or "were".

  • So "where were you yesterday" is completely correct and common in use. I don't have to hesitate to use it. Isn't it? (for me both "where" and "were" sound the same and it make me feel not convenient to say continuously two words that sound the same. But if this considered absolutely correct I'll use it:) May 8, 2018 at 15:17
  • It is completely correct, yes. You can find exercises on uTube. We say" one right after the other". Not continuously. :)
    – Lambie
    May 8, 2018 at 15:29

I'm not sure I completely understand the question. But I'll try.

Short answer: yes. You need the were.

  • Where were you yesterday? A question. I looked and looked but couldn't find you. Where on earth were you yesterday? Note even the preposition "on" doesn't get you out of using were.
  • Where you were yesterday. A reference to an already known location. Let's go back to that place you were at yesterday.

Probably an important addition is your parenthetical comment (it's something that I didn't noticed...). While perhaps not textbook wrong that phraseology would never be used in practice. Choices are

  • it's something I hadn't noticed (or "had not" of course)
  • it's something I didn't notice.
  • Thank you for the answer. "didn't notice" was a typo, but the rest were not. May 8, 2018 at 15:13

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