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When do I use 'were' and when do I use'was'?

He, she,it, I- WAS
They, you, we - WERE

How come I meet people who say 'I wish I were dead'?
Full Member393
To be honest, this is too big a question for a forum post. Whole chapters of books are written on this subject.

The short, and therefore necessarily distorted, answer is use were after if or wish or rather or as though; use was otherwise. See textbooks and other grammar resources for more details.

CJ
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Got it. So tell me if the following sentences are grammartically correct:

I wish I were bigger.
If I were slightly bigger, I would have been able to intimidate others.
He acted as though he were a little child.
grammatically, not grammartically! Emotion: smile
(The r drops out in the adjective and adverb forms.)

Yes, you used were correctly.

Just one thing: The second one would be
If I were slightly bigger, I would be able to intimidate others. (Now, in the present.)
(I am not slightly bigger, BUT IF I were ...)

Here's another version of your second sentence. This one talks about the corresponding past situation.
If I had been slightly bigger, I would have been able to intimidate others. (Then, in the past.)
(I was not slightly bigger, BUT IF I had been ...)

CJ
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A million thank yous wouldn't help to express my endless gratitude to you, Jim.
If only you knew how much you, Grammar Nerd and Liat helped me.
I wasn't able to comprehend one thing though; Why was the latter sentence incorrect?
'If I were slightly bigger... As you said, I'm not....I wish I could be...shouldn't it be 'would have been able', as I can't get bigger(past).
Please help me!:D
Jim, under which(or what?) name I can find this material? Is it called subjuctives?
Yes. Look it up under subjunctives. Be sure to spell it right!

I'd Google something like

English grammar subjunctive

To learn about the tense sequences you are concerned about in your other question, Google

English grammar conditional

You can also use the search box on this site if you want to read specific questions on these topics, but probably a more general overview is what you need first.

CJ
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WesternAmericanJim, under which(or what?) name I can find this material? Is it called subjuctives?

Jim, under which name can I find this material? Is it called 'subjunctives'?
Veteran Member8,069
Yoong Liat
WesternAmericanJim, under which(or what?) name I can find this material? Is it called subjuctives?
Jim, under which name can I find this material? Is it called 'subjunctives'?
Hmm, I think either is ok... Actually, I would have used "what name". I'm not sure I'm correct, though. Emotion: smile
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