My doubt is which of the two is grammatically correct. I'm not sure whether 'were' should be used because it is a subjunctive phrase, or if 'were' should only be used if 'cases' was plural. Thank you!

Hi, thanks for your answers. For example: "The value x would be established to be the retail value of the lowest-valued case of a piece of clothing, provided that there was no clear case of a non-piece of clothing that had an equal or greater value".

So, the question is, is it "was" or "were"?

Thanks again!

  • Impossible to answer without more context. – JeremyC Jul 17 at 21:37
  • Would you please expand your question, giving some examples and context? – Peter Jennings Jul 17 at 22:49
  • Example given in the post. Anyway, my question is for any context, in this subjunctive construction, if the thing that has to be provided is singular, should I use "were" or "was". Thanks a lot. – user354948 Jul 18 at 9:45
  • You have a question, not a doubt. Don't use doubt that way in English: it sounds wrong. Doubt is something to take up with a psychologist or a theologian. You have a question. – tchrist Aug 18 at 14:50

I think grammarly explains it well.

According to this site, from my understanding, using were would be the right choice, given that the part "provided that there was no clear case of a non-piece of clothing that had an equal or greater value" is meant as in a theoretical, hypothetical form, something that is in the moment of writing not a reality yet.

If this part though, is a certainty, a fact, than it should be was as it refers to something that is already real.

From the site:

Use were if the state of being you are describing is in no way the current reality. This is true whenever a hypothetical situation is expressed.

  • Dear Lawrence: Thanks for your answer. But there is a mistake in Grammarly: the fact that x is hypothetical does not entail that x is not already real. For example, Copernicus had the hypothesis that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and it was in fact the current reality. So my question now becomes: is it "was" or "were" when you just do not know whether it is already real? Thanks a lot. – user354948 Jul 19 at 9:02

Answer found in Grammarly: it says that it is "were" when the situation is doubtful, so in my case the correct word is "were".

  • Please don't add "thank you" as an answer. Instead, accept the answer that you found most helpful. - From Review – JJJ Jul 19 at 9:34
  • I have to wait 48 hours to accept my own answer. So I should not thank people here? I won't, but this is the first time I've ever heard that in my life! Just removed the thank-you part. Also: you recommended the deletion of the most useful answer? It escapes me why... – user354948 Jul 19 at 9:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.