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Ayaz Ahmed Khan (Email Removed) wrote on 06 Jan 2004:
"CyberCypher" typed:

I don't remember that one.

That discussion on standard style , which was something to the effect of: there is no standard style.

True. There is no "standard style". Each style book has its own, each journal has it own, each person has its own. There are standards for the order of adjectives, the order of each element of a sentence, etc, but they are often disregarded for one reason or another by the best of writers as well as the worst; the former usually have good reasons for unusual word order, while the latter are usually just ignorant.
I don't know why you consistently fail to read between the lines, Franke.

Because I don't like to play games. I like to say what I mean and mean what I say, and I like it when other people do the same.
I didn't realize that I had caused you that much ... our current exchange, I am no longer into such unpleasantry.

It wouldn't have mattered, had you realised it, would it have, Franke? Neither am I interested in it.

Fine. Then this will be my last reply to any post of yours.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
We're talking about a condition contrary to fact which would ... explicitly denies that the "had" in that sentence is subjunctive.

Raymond, I used were as the subjunctive, and not had . I believe the following reference would ... contrary-to-fact that if the word Linux were not mentioned, which in fact, as you might have seen, was mentioned.

The entire sentence was "I think if the word Linux were not mentioned, I would have resisted the temptation successfully of replying to Simon, as I had been doing so far."
The "were"-subjunctive, also called (somewhat confusingly) the past subjunctive, is inappropriate here, because the hypothetical condition is set in the past: It exists, so to speak, in the past of an alternate universe. The following is from Tom McArthur's *Oxford Companion to the English Language.* The passage bracketed between double asterisks demonstrates my point. Note also the reference at the end to "the purely hypothetical past" for which the word "had" is used.
(quote)The 'past' subjunctive is now often called the were subjunctive, because this is the only form in which there is a distinction from the indicative, and then only in the first and third-person singular: If I were you ... as opposed to If I was you. **It is used with present and future (not past) reference in various hypothetical clauses, including condition:** If only I were young again; If he were asked, he might help; This feels as if it were wool; I wish she were here now; Suppose this were discovered; I'd rather it were concealed.

In popular and non-formal speech and writing, the were -subjunctive is often replaced by the indicative was, which brings this verb into line with other verbs, where the past tense is similarly used for hypotheses about the present and future: If only I knew how; I'd rather you said nothing. Were is, however, widely preferred in If I were you ... In the fixed phrase as it were ( He's captain of the ship, as it were ), were cannot be replaced by was.

The use of were instead of was to refer to a real past possibility is generally considered an over-correction: If I were present on that occasion, I remember nothing of it. This contrasts with the purely hypothetical past, If I had been present ..., which strongly implies but I was not. .

(end quote)
I have taken the passage you wrote and rewritten it to represent the situation appropriately:
"I think if the word Linux had not been mentioned, I would have successfully resisted the temptation to reply to Simon, as I had been doing up to that point."

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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Ayaz Ahmed Khan
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I think I mainly use 'whilst' when 'while' means 'whereas'; I would never use it in a time sense (I think).

I think it's more subtle than that. I recently noticed a sign saying something like "Please fasten your seatbelt whilst stitting", which seems to imply "don't fasten it when standing up". "While" wouldn't carry that implication.
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