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“If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct?

From what I have read so far both are correct and was is used in an informal way. But somehow statements like "If I was to lose my mind" sound incorrect.

Is the above sentence correct? Why is this the case?

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marked as duplicate by Matt Эллен, Jasper Loy, TimLymington, Mitch, Hugo Nov 1 '11 at 11:48

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2 Answers

Read the answers on the other question for the full story. But briefly: "If I was" is incorrect in your example, and in 99% of cases (there are a few examples, like "If I was wrong, I apologize", where it is not a subjunctive, so was is right). Most people don't draw the distinction, so use was indiscriminately.

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"If I were" is generally used to describe imaginative situations which are considered highly-improbable or are not true, where as "If I was" is used for situations which are feasible yet uncertain.

For example:

"If I was wrong, I am sorry." -> A case about which the speaker is uncertain.

"If I were superman, I would fly above the clouds." -> A case which is impossible.

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