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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > In which case ?    

In which case ?



Londonthanhhoa
Vietnam

In which case ?
 
I learnt then I teach my students that in Conditional sentence type 2, the verb "to be" has only one form "were". But I ´ve read a guide book for the graduation exam and saw that "was" was also used. Is that right and if so, in which case do we you "was" instead of "were" ?
Thanks in advance

9 Apr 2009      



wingyourdreams
Vietnam

Dear Jasmine,

Here is something that you can read as a reference:

"if I was you" is most definitely NOT acceptable from a strictly grammatical point of view. It may be commonly used in colloquial English but in written English, it is a mark of poor grammar.

On the American SATII Writing test (which will become part of the SAT I next year), "if I was you" would cost you dear points! The College Entrance Exam Board is extremely picky about this particular grammatical concept.

Have fun!

9 Apr 2009     



eng789
Israel

Note that after I / he/ she /it we often use the subjunctive form ´were ´ and not ´was ´. (Some people think that ´were ´ is the only ´correct ´ form but other people think ´was ´ is equally ´correct ´ .)

9 Apr 2009     



mendiv
United States

The rule has to do with the possibility of what you are saying coming true. 

You never say "if I was you".  You say "if I were you", because I could never actually BE you.

You could say, "if I was rich," because it is possible that you could be rich (even if it isn ´t likely).

:)


9 Apr 2009     



arielka
Poland

  I will write the examples that helped me with it.

If I were a president I would......  - you are a normal citizien and it is impossible

If i was a a president I would..... - that could say Obama before he was elected. It is possible that you can be a president

10 Apr 2009     



Jayho
Australia

English Club has an excellent reference regarding this  Thetable appears below and there is additioanl info available at the link:  http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-subjunctive.htm
 

 

Formal

(The were form is correct at all times.)
Informal

(The was form is possible in informal, familiar conversation.)
If I were younger, I would go. If I was younger, I would go.
If he weren´t so mean, he would buy one for me. If he wasn´t so mean, he would buy one for me.
I wish I weren´t so slow! I wish I wasn´t so slow!
I wish it were longer. I wish it was longer.
It´s not as if I were ugly. It´s not as if I was ugly.
She acts as if she were Queen. She acts as if she was Queen.
If I were you, I should tell her. Note: We do not normally say "if I was you", even in familiar conversation.

11 Apr 2009     



Londonthanhhoa
Vietnam

Thank you all of your answers. I see what I should tell my students now

11 Apr 2009