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It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it was an oak. It's hard to imagine a pine tree wishing it were an oak. Which is correct sentence?

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    You can say either and be "correct", in that you will be understood perfectly well, and you will not be admonished by anyone but an insufferable pedant. But if you want to understand the subjunctive, please read about it and present us with more information so that we know exactly what it is you are wondering about, for example, can one use the subjunctive with an inanimate object? Otherwise, it's likely it has been addressed here before. Search "subjunctive". – anongoodnurse Feb 3 '15 at 5:58
  • Songs of Our Youth. – tchrist Feb 3 '15 at 6:08
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    It goes against the grain for a pine tree to wish it were an oak. – Erik Kowal Feb 3 '15 at 6:31
  • Well, @ErikKowal, it's natural to want to turn over a new leaf sometimes. Feel the sap rising and branch out. – Joffan Feb 3 '15 at 7:03
  • @ErikKowal Yes, the Scots pine is the real deal. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 3 '15 at 7:34