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My first language is not English and I have a question about a sentence that I recently saw. And I hope someone can help me.

Is it correct to say:

"I wish John were a myth so you could bust him."

instead of:

"I wish John was a myth so you could bust him."

And if both are correct, what are the difference between the two?

marked as duplicate by Andrew Leach Jan 30 '17 at 16:36

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  • Trying reading up on the difference in was and were, as well as what types of nouns they are used with. writingexplained.org/was-vs-were-difference – Hank Jan 30 '17 at 16:22
  • The sentence might be formed with the television show called "Mythbusters" in mind. If you are not familiar with the program, this sentence would be even more confusing. – Mark Hubbard Jan 30 '17 at 16:33

I don't think that the proper noun is important to the distinction here, which is between the indicative and subjunctive mode. As used here, was is indicative, while were is subjunctive and the better word to follow "I wish." This would still be the case if some common noun were involved instead of John. "I wish my wife were here," not "I wish my wife was here." But I suppose that many native speakers ignore this distinction and was is common in this context.

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