If you are saying that somebody wishes that they could have been somebody else, which would be more correct:

E from the eels wishes he was Elliott Smith


E from the eels wishes he were Elliott Smith?

  • Sounds familiar -- have you checked previous questions for a possible duplicate?
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 8:01
  • I did, though I wasn't exactly sure if this fit under the subjunctive moood or not.
    – fox
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


Since E is not Elliott Smith (and never will be), it is appropriate to use the subjunctive mood ("were").


I quote from The American Heritage Dictionary (Fifth Edition). The quote settles the question adequately.

A traditional rule requires the use of were rather than was in a contrary-to-fact statement that follows 'wish': "I wish I were (not was) lighter on my feet." While many people do insist on upholding this rule, the indicative was in such clauses can be found in the works of many well-known writers.

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