Is this sentence grammatically correct? If not, how should it be changed?

It would be understandable if decreasing city revenues was not a priority for city employees.


It would be understandable if decreasing city revenues were not a priority for city employees.

closed as off-topic by Cascabel, choster, jimm101, Sven Yargs, J. Taylor Feb 10 at 21:30

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  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. If you are not familiar with what is traditionally known as the English subjunctive, I would direct you to Is there a different grammatical term for “If I was” than for “If I were”?, Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English?, and Why is American English so wedded to the subjunctive? If English is a second or foreign language for you, our sister site for English Language Learners may also be of interest. – choster Jan 30 at 16:35
  • @choster It seems like my sentence would have the same grammar if the clauses were reversed: If decreasing city revenues were not a priority for city employees, then it would be understandable. The subjunctive "were" seems correct. Am I wrong? – dpatru Jan 30 at 16:49
  • 1
    Without more context— the complete scenario you are trying to describe— I can't say which you would prefer. For example, it's not clear which is the intended the subject of the clause— decreasing (i.e. the decreasing of the revenues of the city) or revenues (revenues of the city, which have been decreasing)— which would govern the use of were in the indicative as well as the subjunctive. But yes, the order in which you present the clauses would not affect whether you choose was or were here. – choster Jan 30 at 16:59