I would rather you were to do it (i would rather were you to do it)

1) is this sentence correct?

I would rather you were to have done it

2) is this sentence correct?

I am trying to use subjunctive formal structure in different grammar constructions.

I wish You were to do it ( I wish Were you to do it)

I wish you were to have done it

  • What do you mean? None of these are clear as to the situation or what the speaker expects to be understood. Also, it's not clear what you mean by "subjunctive formal structure"; people have a lot of different ideas about it, and we see all of them here. Is the speaker meaning to get somebody to do something (the untensed that clause construction) or is the speaker trying to describe a fantasy situation (the irrealis past construction)? It looks like you have mashed them both together here. May 22 '17 at 13:37
  • 1
    Are you trying to shuffle the sentence around to use were so as to make it subjunctive? Don't do that; just use the past tense – I'd rather you did it. Here, I'd rather conveys the hypothetical meaning, so there's no need to contort the sentence so as to use the subjunctive. May 22 '17 at 17:10
  • 1
    What subjunctive? "Were" is not subjunctive, except on Mickey Mouse grammar forums, of course.
    – BillJ
    May 22 '17 at 17:46
  • Francis Rick, you may find English Language Learners SE helpful. May 23 '17 at 3:36
  • Related
    – tchrist
    Jul 22 '19 at 23:54

Cambridge Dictionary's advice is to stick to past simple and past perfect constructions when using would rather, although it's not exactly phrased as a commandment: "when the subjects of the two clauses are different, we often use the past simple to talk about the present or future, and the past perfect to talk about the past". http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/verb-patterns/would-rather-would-sooner

So Cambridge would suggest you stick with either:

  • I would rather you did it., or
  • I would rather you had done it.

That said, the following are not offensive to my ear:

  • I would rather you do it.
  • I would rather you were the one to do it.
  • I would rather you were the one to have done it.

However, all I've really done here is circumvented your question by creating a root past simple sentence (I wish you were the one) as suggested by Cambridge and then making it very close to sounding like the sentences you are trying to make but actually not the exact form.

My best solution for "wish" would be very similar to the above. As noted on Perfect English Grammar, the use of "were" with "wish" is generally in the "Wish + (that) + past simple" form and the site gives the example "I wish I were rich". http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/wish.html

You can modify this form as I did above to create:

  • I wish you were the one to do it.
  • I wish you were the one to have done it.

Again, this sounds very close to the words you suggest but ultimately I am skirting the whole problem by making it a past simple sentence.

Sorry, I can't think of any way to get closer to the sentence structure you are suggesting that doesn't sound overly offensive to my ear.

  • Very clear explanation. Well, I did think about "I would have preferred it if it had been you the One to..". Or " I would prefer it if it were you (was you in an informal way) the One... May 22 '17 at 16:00
  • Is "i wish you were the One who had helped me" correct? May 22 '17 at 16:02
  • Or I should say I wish you had been the One who helped me" May 22 '17 at 16:03
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    Francis, if the rules for "wish" follow the rules for "would rather" according the Cambridge source I cited above, either of those two should be acceptable, with the simple past (were the one) used for present or future, and the past perfect (had been the one) used for past. It's probably uncommon to phrase a wish to have happened in the past, and much more common to phrase a wish to happen in the present or future, but I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be acceptable to wish for something to have happened, so both I think are correct if used with those meanings.
    – Brillig
    May 22 '17 at 17:39
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    It's a little complicated at first but think about it this way: "I wish (now) that you were the one that had helped me" versus "I wish (that in the past) that you had been the one who helped me." Future might be: "I wish (going forward) that you were the one that had helped me." The difference between present meaning and future meaning would probably have to be indicated by supporting text.
    – Brillig
    May 22 '17 at 17:44

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