It looks to me a subjunctive form but not contemporary, so I would like to ask how this is properly interpreted gramatically.

In the second conditional “if it were” it is clearly subjunctive, but the first conditional it would normally be written as “if it is”.

Why is it subjunctive? And when is it proper style?

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    Yes, it is a present subjunctive in that case. If sometimes got the present subjunctive in older English. – Cerberus Jun 10 '16 at 3:13
  • Thank you, @Cerberus. When is it proper style to use, I mean would this be proper in an every day conversation or is it much more literary than that? – ib11 Jun 10 '16 at 3:15
  • If it is, so be it. – Kris Jun 10 '16 at 7:37

The present subjunctive is almost gone in contemporary English. Only residual expressions are used such as

If need be: provided it is necessary

Come hell or high water: no matter what happens

Be it good or bad: whether it is good or bad

Of course, you can say "If it be rainy tomorrow" if you want to sound archaic like someone who time-traveled from the past. I wouldn't use it in everyday conversation.

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    I see. I also see that this question covers "if need be". So I guess than this is the same case of subjunctive for the first conditional. Now you say if I want to sound like a "time traveler" but what about sounding learnt or even poetic. That would work, no? – ib11 Jun 10 '16 at 6:37
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    @ib11 You can write whatever you want if you want to sound poetic. But I don't think it sounds learned. Others might differ. – user140086 Jun 10 '16 at 6:46
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    It is nice to use such expressions in the right situations. Use your social skills to ensure that you don't sound bombastic or unduly affected. – Cerberus Jun 10 '16 at 12:47

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