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Anonymous:Is there a time when it is correct to use: If it was. . . I tend to always use: If it were
It was late.
They were late.
I was in the car.
Sam and Joe were in the car.
I believe your question is somehow related to ‘subjunctive mood’ in English, and I would like to touch base on this topic. One of the functions of subjunctive mood is to express an idea or a statement that is contrary or hypothetical to real present. In such cases, the past form of ‘to be’ verb (is/am/was/were...etc) is always ‘were’, regardless of the subject, gender, and number.
(1) If I were a bird, I would fly around the world. (But, I am not a bird now)
(2) If it were a bird, it would fly around the world. (But, it is not a bird now)
(3) If he were here, he would invite you. (But, he is not here, now)
(4) If I were a political leader, I would always think about public welfare. (However, I am not a political leader, now)
In all above cases, regardless of the subject and its gender and number, the past form of ‘to be’ verb is always ‘were’.
Hope, this will give you some idea.
Use "If it were" for a hypothetical, contrary-to-fact situation in the present.
Use "If it was" for a real situation in the past.
(This is the same for "I", "he", and "she". "we", "you", and "they" are always "were", of course.)
If it were a fake, the chemical analysis would show it.
If it was a fake, it was a very good fake, because I couldn't tell the difference.
Anonymous:99% of the time you are correct. The only time you use if and was together is if the statement is not presumed to be untrue
for instance "If I were superman ""is correct. It is obvious I am not superman
But - "if he was away all day he wouldn't answer is phone is also correct because his being away all day is presumed to be true.
Perhaps you can help me. What if you are teasing something that is in fact true with the proposal that it is so sought-after that it is assumed to not be true? For example: "Imagine if it (were/was) available now."
Let's use a unicorn as an example:
"Imagine if a unicorn (was/were) found today." In reality, a unicorn was found today, and I am simply presenting it as a grandiose "think about it!" context in order to build up to the reality, that a unicorn was truly found today.
Since the situation is not contrary to fact, but is set up to be hypothetical, which is the correct usage if usage of were is considered to be "hypothetical and contrary to the fact?"
An immediate response would be greatly appreciated if possible.
If a unicorn were found today, I would certainly be surprised. (The causality of the antecedent-consequent relationship exists here.)
If a unicorn was found today, it certainly escaped my notice. (Not a true antecedent-consequent relationship.)
were goes with would.
was goes with a simple past.
Anonymous:If John McCain was elected... or If John McCain were elected...
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