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I have a problem that I can't research because I cannot adequately define the problem. (That make sense?) I have difficulty choosing between "were" and "was" in certain contexts. For example, which would I choose for the following sentence:

"He jumped around as if he was/were a frog."

I have an inclination to use "were," and I'm almost certain that "were" is right, but I don't know that rule stating why. Can someone please point to the specifics of such a rule.

Thanks!!!
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Comments  (Page 2) 
True to a certain extent WHL626, but it does sound nice, and it is correct.
This is what I posted yesterday to an equal question: Emotion: smile

The subjunctive (also called: conjunctive) and the conditional are Modi (=
forms of expressing) of a verb:

The subjunctive expresses irreal situations while the conditional expresses a
possible reality.

English has nearly lost its subjunctive as an own modus of the verb (except the
form: I/he were). Because the forms of the subjunctive almost fell together with
the forms of the Simple Past the conditional took over also the function of the
subjunctive.

The conditional is formed by would+infinitive which is originally the past form of the
future (compare to will+infinitive).

While e.g. French has an own paradigm for both conditional and subjunctive,
English only had one for the subjunctive. The Conditional was and still is
paraphrased by would+infinitive.

So actually there would be ("were") no difference if you said:
"She would fly (=conditional) to London if she had money" or
"She flew (=subjunctive) to London if she had money"

The first one rather expresses: it is possible that she would go because she maybe has the money to go, while the 2nd one would rather express: She would hardly go because she doesn't have the money.

But: Due to the fact that the subjunctive has extincted and could easily be
messed up with simple past, it is now replaced by the conditional and only the
2nd sentence would be ("were") correct.

Btw: This "had" in the if-clause: If she "had" money... IS subjunctive! It expresses something more or less irreal, but NO past!
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The 3rd conditional case is also a problem to many native speakers according to some good English teachers I chatted with before.

I personally put it down to the twisting of tongue to get the conditional case fulfilledEmotion: smile. It is always a long sentence for sure.

eg. If I had had the courage to ask Mary, she would have agreed to marry meEmotion: smile.

The obvious difference of subjunctive from conditional cases are the latter is always applied only when ' if ' is involved in the sentence. But sometimes to make it short, rule is violated in spoken English.
1. Was your employees pleased with their health benefits?

or

2. Were your employees pleased with their health benefits?

Which sentence is correct?
"your employees" is plural so it requires the plural form of the verb: were
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