Would the following usage be considered archaic?

Were I you, I would ask her for a date.

  • I wouldn't think so.
    – Rook
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 6:50
  • Nor I, though I am a bit archaic myself and should come with a government health warning for Millennials. On the other hand, I can't envision a Brit actually saying this. Even if a subjunctive-loving wrinkly, he would be more likely to say "If I were you". Youngers would probably say "In your shoes" or its variants.
    – David Pugh
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 7:18
  • 1
    Grammatical constructions don't become archaic overnight. The subjunctive is clearly on its way out, but some people still use it. So the answer to your question is not a simple yes or no.
    – user86291
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 7:38
  • Not archaic but certainly formal.
    – Mitch
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 13:30
  • 1
    What do you mean by archaic? Rarely used nowadays, although it was much more common in the past? Or so out-of-use that people will look at you funny if you use it? It fits the first, but not the second. Commented May 26, 2015 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


This is not archaic, but it is used infrequently. This combines both inversion and the subjunctive, and use of the latter has become more endangered for the younger speakers of English. Despite this, most speakers would use "if I were you" to describe the same sentiment. Inversion is apparently more endangered than the subjunctive.

Were I you, I'd stick with "if I were you".


The normal form is: If I were you". Such a formula for irreality can also have the form "Were I you" but I would say that is a formula you can find in written form, in novels.

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