Questions tagged [irrealis-were]

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What mood is "if I were" in?

Wikipedia says about English subjunctive mood: In Modern English, the subjunctive is realised as a finite but tenseless clause where the main verb occurs in the bare form. Since the bare form is also ...
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The Present (Concessive) Subjunctive (Whether/If It Be) in Past Tense Cases

Did the present, concessive subjunctive (“if it be the case”; “whether it be the case”) ever have a place in past-tense sentences? To my understanding, the subjunctive “were” and the conditionals in ...
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3 answers
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Subjunctive Mood in Past Tense, Historical, Narratives

I have a question about use of the subjunctive in past tense narratives. The quoted passage is from Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic, a sort of cultural history of England in the ...
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Subjunctive Conditionals in the Past Tense

Is a sentence such as the one that follows grammatical and logical: I was worried I would have lost a letter grade if I were to hand in the paper late. I know the subjunctive, being a mood, can be ...
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Irrealis “were” following “as if”

Is the subjunctive “were” in the sentence, “He seems as if he were spell-bound,” construed as counterfactual? Does it always preclude truth, or does it only here suggest that it was highly improbable ...
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Why is "were" used in the highlighted relative clause?

Thank you for taking interest in this question. I have attached below the context of the clause in question to help your understanding. A full version of the question would be: Why were, instead of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
249 views

Shakespeare’s Subjunctive

Shakespeare’s Macbeth famously says, “If it were done, when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly,” which I rearranged, according to my understanding, as, “‘Twere well it were done quickly, ...
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499 views

If I was vs. if I were - which is correct and why? [duplicate]

Which is right? "If I was from France, would I get a visa from Ghanaian embassy?" vs. "were from France" "If I was taller, I would buy that dress." vs. "if I were" "If I was 20, I would travel the ...
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If he takes the later plane tonight he won’t have to rush

According to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 88, if took could be the realisation of either a preterite or an irrealis, there'd be no way of telling in cases like [29ii] (If ...
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“Would + Verb” vs. “Were to + Verb”

"If they ___ me this job, I'd turn it down." a) would offer b) were to offer I had this question in my test lately. The latter is the right answer, but I don't really get the difference ...
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Why ”were” and not “was” in “and e’en to tell it ᴡᴇʀᴇ no easy task”?

I am reading a translation of Dante’s Inferno made by Cary in 1805. Here I cite the translator’s text for the opening of Canto I: In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy ...
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Hello I’d like to ask if my grammar is correct! We’re having fun last night! [closed]

I’d like to ask of my grammar is correct! We’re having fun last night. Isn’t correct?
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“if our photographer was” or “is” or “were”?

"Although you are more than welcome to take photos today, it would be appreciated if our photographer was/is/were given the best opportunity to photograph the happy couple." Which one is correct, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
836 views

Subjunctive questions

Do I need to add ‘that’? Is it neccesary? She demands that he go to the mall. She demands he go to the mall. Which one is proper? I thought that he was tired. I thought he were tired. There are ...
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1 answer
13k views

Which is grammatically correct: "if someone was starving" or "if someone were starving"? [duplicate]

Which sentence is more grammatically correct: If someone was starving on an island If someone were starving on an island
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1 answer
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"If you be my love” vs. ”If you were my {love}"

I was wondering how somebody in the 19th century would have said or written If you are/were my girl/boyfriend, you must never cheat on me I thought it might be something like this If ...
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What does the expression "If + subject + was/were + infinitive" mean in American English

I just want to ask you guys about the general meaning of expressions that use the following pattern in colloquial American English: If + subject + was/were + infinitive, ... Examples: (Written by ...
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usage of unreal hypothetical when speaking of something unlikely to happen [duplicate]

Is this correct? When a student asked if he was “a dictator like Hitler,” Patterson asked, “If I was Hitler, does that mean I put you in an oven?” Isn’t that supposed to be “if I were” there?
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2 votes
2 answers
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Conditional clause

Yo, is this sentence correct? It's hard to find a guide that speaks directly to this use of the subjunctive: I realized that this issue needed more active contemplation, were I to find any closure. ...
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1 answer
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I felt as if it "was" or "were" grinning at me? [duplicate]

A wicked aura around it, I felt as if it was grinning at me or A wicked aura around it, I felt as if it were grinning at me ?
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Second "To Be" with Irrealis/Past Subjunctive

Assuming that I'm a person who uses irrealis subjunctive, and every part of the example situation is hypothetical, which of the following is more correct? Option 1: If I were ever in a store where I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
7k views

"If I am to pick a favourite" or "If I were to pick a favourite" [closed]

I will try to keep it short and simple. How do you answer the question if this was asked as a question in person - “What is your favorite song?” I want to say I have many but if I had to select one,...
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2 votes
1 answer
480 views

Has “if I was” be­come gram­mat­i­cally cor­rect in a south­ern US di­alect? [duplicate]

Liv­ing my whole life in Arkansas in the United States, I’m cer­tain that if I were is never used by lo­cals. In­stead, phrases like if I was and you was and they was have all re­placed their equiv­a­...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Confusion about "Past Real Conditional"

The Past Real Conditional describes what you used to do in particular real-life situations. It suggests that your habits have changed and you do not usually do these things today. E.g.: If I went ...
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"not sure whether it WAS" vs. "not sure if it WERE"

Which of the two is correct: I was not sure whether it WAS the other car's coupler or mine that had suddenly had trouble connecting. I was not sure if it WERE the other car's coupler or mine that had ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Leo DiCaprio pretended he was a doctor or "he were" a doctor? [closed]

Hi literary community! I'm writing a book and I'm stuck on this part of a sentence: Leo DiCaprio pretended he was a doctor.. Or Leo DiCaprio pretended he were a doctor? I know that we are ...
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2 votes
1 answer
621 views

How do I correctly determine realis vs irrealis or indicative vs subjunctive in this sentence?

I stared at him to see if he were just a cartoon character. or I stared at him to see if he was just a cartoon character. The intended meaning of the two sentences above are that due to him (his ...
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2 answers
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Difference in usage between 'If I were you, I would X' and 'If I were you, I would have Xed'

"If I were you, I would look for another job" and "if I were you, I would have looked for another job" what is the difference between these two sentences?
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1 vote
2 answers
8k views

Understanding sentence starting with "were" [closed]

I am reading a economics book and the following sentence confuses me: Were such individuals to gain a lot of money, they would stop buying insurance. It seems strange to me. What is the meaning ...
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1 vote
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A question about the use of the subjunctive mood

What is the difference between these two sentences and which one is correct? If both be correct, when should I use the one over the other? "If people who seek food were able to produce enough food by ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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"She laughed as though there (was/were) a chance he might have said anything else." [duplicate]

Would I use 'was' or 'were' here? She laughed as though there was/were a chance he might have said anything else. (I read about the difference between was and were, but I can't apply it to this ...
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5 votes
2 answers
113k views

Can I use 'I wish I were there' in this situation?

There were workshops a few days ago. I couldn't be there. I'm watching photographs from that time and I'm wondering what I should use. 'I wish I were there' or 'I wish I were be there' or something ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Reported Speech with was and were

I set a test with the following direct sentence, which the students were supposed to put into reported speech: Interviewer: "Are you fluent in English?" I expected the students to write: The ...
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9 votes
4 answers
60k views

Behave as if it was or it were

You can place the script in the head or body as you like. The script will behave as if it was located exactly where you put the script tag in the document. The sentences above are taken from this ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Past subjunctive Vs. Present Subjunctive

The verb be is the only one that has a past subjunctive form. In some cases, be, as a subjunctive, retains its present form even if the sentence is in the past tense. Example: Present: It is ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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"If you were to ..." or "If you ..." or "If you will ..."

If you were to go home, you would feel better versus If you went home, you would feel better versus If you will go home, you will feel better Are all the above correct? Are there circumstances ...
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3 votes
1 answer
787 views

was or were in Subjunctive Mood [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”? Which of following sentences is formed ...
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0 votes
2 answers
9k views

Using "wish" to express regret in the present and in the past

I wish I have been there for the baby kicking for the first time? Could I change the sentence to I wish I was there for the baby kicking for the first time? What are the differences between the ...
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180 votes
12 answers
1.0m views

When to use "If I was" vs. "If I were"?

If I was... If I were... When is it correct to use "If I was" vs. "If I were" in standard English?
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