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How should i phrase this?

She wished it was as easy as he thought.

or

She wished it were as easy as he thought.

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  • It's a counterfactual, so traditionally you'd want to invoke the irrealis mood (aka "the subjunctive", if you say that word around a syntactician of English, you might get bitten), and therefore you'd choose were. But increasingly in recent years, people have been using the simple past where the subjunctive would traditionally have been used, so there's a case to be made for was as well, based on usage (aka in a descriptivist framework).
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 16 '17 at 13:13
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In a comment, Dan Bron wrote:

It's a counterfactual, so traditionally you'd want to invoke the irrealis mood (aka "the subjunctive", if you say that word around a syntactician of English, you might get bitten), and therefore you'd choose were. But increasingly in recent years, people have been using the simple past where the subjunctive would traditionally have been used, so there's a case to be made for was as well, based on usage (aka in a descriptivist framework).

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  • No. Do not answer ELL questions here. Vote to migrate to ELL so OP can get the detailed help and guidance he needs. Do you really think my comment, flat, verbatim, unpacked and unannotated, is helpful for someone who is in a position to have to ask about was vs were? If you want this question to have an answer, whether to help OP or to scratch some procedural itch, then post a proper answer, or migrate it to the place where the community is both eager and equipped to post answers to such questions.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 16 '17 at 15:27
  • @DanBron It's a duplicate of a million identical questions. I'm not sure that it's an ELL candidate.
    – tchrist
    Dec 16 '17 at 15:40

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