This question already has an answer here:

I have a question regarding which it should be:

He acted as if he were owner of the place


He acted as if he was owner of the place.

Which is correct?

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Robusto, choster, Edwin Ashworth, TimLymington Aug 7 '15 at 13:41

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  • Alternative that flows better: "as if he owned the place". – PixelSnader Aug 6 '15 at 13:37
  • @PixelSnader Yes I like that phrasing better too. I generally approve of the strategy of re-working a sentence to avoid awkward artefacts of ancient grammar rules. – Sawbones Aug 6 '15 at 13:38

Alternative that flows better: "as if he owned the place".

Not what you asked, but I figured I'd mention it anyhow.

  • You should post this as a comment, as it is not an answer to the OP's question. – Sander Aug 6 '15 at 13:35

The correct phrase is:

He acted as if he were the owner of the place.

This is a great example of the subjunctive in English, which is used to express ideas that are contrary to fact.

It is also a great example of formal "correct" English diverging from common parlance. Many people say "as if he was the owner of the place" in casual speech.

  • Sorry, but that's just not accurate :( In about three ways. – Araucaria Aug 7 '15 at 3:31

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