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Living my whole life in Arkansas, US, I'm certain that "if I were" is never used by locals. Instead, phrases like "if I was," "you was," and "they was," have replaced their equivalents in other regions. I've heard these so often that I think it's necessary to ask if they are grammatically correct as a part of a southern dialect. Does their appearance in a certain region as acceptable excuse their application in formal writing? Personally, I indeed believe that anything not found in generic, "accent-free" areas should not be considered correct. But officially within a southern US dialect, are these constructions grammatical?

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    What does "officially within a southern US dialect" mean? What officials are involved in deciding this? – Drew May 17 '17 at 19:56
  • By official, I mean "is it okay, because it's a dialect?" or is it still incorrect whether it's commonplace or not. – Middle School Historian May 18 '17 at 13:10
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    OK to whom, in what context? Primarily opinion-based. – Drew May 18 '17 at 14:15
  • Can you please name a single generic, "accent-free" area in the US, in the world? – AmE speaker May 18 '17 at 23:23
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This question is the stuff grammar wars are fought over.

Personally, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "if I were", and I've lived all over the US except the south. The lay idea being, you would say, "I was a king," not, "I were a king," so why should you say, "If I were a king," instead of, "If I was a king"?

This is called the "subjunctive mood" and is used to indicate that the statement is untrue or wistful. "If I were..." or "I wish I were..." are the typical structures for "subjunctive mood" statements.

So, is it now grammatically correct to dispense with the subjunctive mood? That's a matter of opinion, but if you ask most people they'd probably say, "What's a subjunctive mood?" If I was braver, I would voice my preference.

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    I wonder if this is the kind of thing where you tend to hear it like you say it, regardless of what other people actually say? I use if I were (native AmE speaker), and I just realized I've been singing Megan Trainor's song Me Too (and hearing her sing it in my head) that way for months, even though she actually uses if I was you. – 1006a May 17 '17 at 20:06
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    Textbook answer. So nice to spot a little bit of humor/humour creeping into the last sentence of your answer. – Peter Point May 18 '17 at 9:12

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