Deeper Dive: was
Word Story Text
Was. It's hard to say anything much about was because the way it's pronounced depends on your accent. Everyone speaks with an accent it's just a question of which one.
In my accent was rhymes with does buzz and fuzz.
But for some people who have a different accent, it rhymes with laws and cause.
Keep this in mind if you use was and tasks such as decide to give two words have the same vowel, or if two words rhyme. The answers will depend on the student's accent.
Was is too high in frequency to ignore.
Aside from memorizing the word through practice and reading aloud and spelling it from the spoken word, what can be done?
One common approach is to teach it along with the other simple present and past tenses of the verb to be. Almost all of them are doubly irregular. They form the tense irregularly and they have irregular pronunciations.
For example, the first person singular is I am. So the past tense should be, I am'd. It's not. It's, I was. So, was is a irregular verb and the spelling, w a s has an irregular pronunciation. Was. This verb conjugation also includes are, is and were. Just like was, they are doubly irregular.
So while you're teaching about the forms of these verbs, the conjugation the student can also be learning how these words are spelled and pronounced. The whole set of present and simple past tenses for the verb to be, can be found in the deep dive.
(wŏz). [AS. wæs, 2d pers. wǣre, 3d pers. wæs, pl. wǣron, with the inf. wesan to be; akin to D. wezen, imp. was, OHG. wesan, imp. was, G. wesen, n., a being, essence, war was, Icel. vera to be, imp. var, Goth. wisan to be, to dwell, to remain, imp. was, Skr. vas to remain, to dwell. √148. Cf. Vernacular, Wassail, Were, verb]
The first and third persons singular of the verb be, in the indicative mood, preterit (imperfect) tense; as, I was; he was.
-- Webster's unabridged 1913