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This sentence turned up on another forum:

1. Well, if I ___ there when the MD took off her knickers, I don't remember any of it.

What should fill the blank: "was" or "were"?

My money's on "was": "if" here means "accepting the fact that"; it doesn't present the cause or condition of the consequent clause.

Other native speakers accepted "were", however, which sounds very strange to me.

What do you think?

MrP
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MrPedantic1. Well, if I ___ there when the MD took off her knickers, I don't remember any of it.

What should fill the blank: "was" or "were"?
Hi MrP

Were is incorrect.

Cheers
CB
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In my dialect, it's always "were". Anytime there's an "If I" + the verb "to be" it's gonna be "were" no matter what follows. I heard that usage was dying out in British English? Is that true? To me, "If I was" sounds quite incorrect.
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Thanks very much, Marvin!

The past subjunctive is still common in BrE where the condition is open, e.g.

1. If I were you, I'd buy a different hat.

2. If that were the case, we would all need to do X.

The past indicative is always used however where the fact in the if-clause is accepted as true, e.g.

3. If that was a little green man in that Mercedes, we'd better follow him and get a photograph.

(What would you say for #3, out of interest?)

MrP
 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.
Hi Mr. P -

Although that first instinct is to jump on "were" with that "if I..." lead-in, I agree that it should be "was" - because it's apparently true, and not contrary to fact.
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