Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > In which case ?    

In which case ?


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      


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     


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     

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     


  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     


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



(The were form is correct at all times.)

(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     


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

11 Apr 2009