This one is driving me nuts.
I have studied the rules of the past subjunctive, so I (Think I) know about counterfactual conditions and the proper use of was/were.
I also know that many native english speakers ignore the rules of the subjunctive altogether. Yet I am puzzled because sometimes, the same author, even in the same passage applies both forms. That leads me to believe that they are perceived differently.

Some examples:

If it wasn't for me, you'd be in trouble now
If it weren't for me, you'd be in trouble now

I think the second one is correct, eventhough many native speakers might use the first one.


Now, look at the following ones. All taken from the same passage.


Please do not comment on the context. I found it on google searching for the phrases. This is not propaganda in any way, so please stick to the grammar.

If it weren't for Muslims, horses would have never been brought to the European world

Things like curry, garlic, onions, peppercorn, and other spices would not be enjoyed if it wasn't for the impact of the Muslim world

If it weren't for the Muslims then many nations would not have been formed, many foods would not be enjoyed, many types of transportation would not be used, and many ideas would not have been shared

Besides these examples, I have also noticed that "if it wasn't" is more common in counterfactual past phrases rather than in counterfactual present.
For example

if it wasn't for that setback, our job would have been much easier than it was

I dont know if "If it weren't" would be correct here. I would say "If it hadn't been", or, even better, "had it not been", but definately not "if it wasn't". Yet the latter seems to be by far the most common form.
So please enlighten me, if you can. Which is the correct form and why? Assuming I want to apply the subjunctive rules consistently.
1 2
Hay guy that too long for a question!!

I think it is something to do with plural and singular
Does that mean nobody knows? Damn. If even the regulars of an english language forum are bored to read my question guess there's nobody that can help me!
It was long because I wanted to make it as clear as possible
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I am not an expert on the subject and the English language in general, but I think that “were” should be used when the statement is contrary to the fact (if I put it right).

If they say: “ If it wasn’t for Muslims... “, They mean that Muslims are actually responsible for the events described.

Looks like I could use some explanation on the subject too.Emotion: smile

Visit this site. It mentions about this thing. (link outdated)

It would appear that 'wasn't is used informally, and for formal writing, if...weren't or if...were is to be used.

Hope this clears up your doubts.

I think you are correct on all counts.

The subjunctive is the "correct" form in the examples you have given, but as you have noted, it is widely disregarded in modern English, even to the point of being almost obsolete.

Personally, I like the subjunctive, particularly in creative writing, because it creates an almost wistful mood, a sense of longing...

In a commercial context, however, this would obviously be inappropriate, and might even be regarded as pretentious. So, the subjunctive is largely redundant in today's business English.

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The subjunctive is merely the name for some structures that were used much more in older forms of English. There is nothing magical about them. Most have long since been replaced by other forms which say the same thing. A few remain, "If S were" is one of them.

"Was" has been used for centuries as a replacement for 'were' and in many situations the meanings are identical, context lets us know. Neither is more correct, though one certainly could be considered more appropriate to a given language situation.

Were is used more in formal situations, was more in casual situations.

If I were you = If I was you

No one demands a subjunctive form to say,

"If I lived in Paris, ..."

'If' + [a past tense verb] indicates to native speakers [ENLs] that the situation being describes is counterfactual or doubtful, again context tells us which.
they was playin' a game

BEV- i think its used incorrectly in this statement
It IS used incorrectly in this statement, and it doesn't even have anything to do with the subjunctive here...

It should be, "they were playing a game", because the pronoun is plural.
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