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I found the following sentence on a Youtube video. I think the reason that they use "were" in the following sentence is to express a second conditional meaning. However, I am not one hundred percent sure about it. Therefore, I would really appreciate it if someone let me know whether my understanding about this sentence is correct or not. What's more, is it grammatically correct if I replaced the "were" with "was" in the following sentence because while I was studying second conditionals, I heard that it is feasible to use "were" or "was" regardless of the singularity of the subject.


If something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideas, as if it were coming from a poem.


Reference:-

https://youtu.be/lQDUEQd9jIs?list=WL&t=1297

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dileepaI think the reason that they use "were" in the following sentence is to express a second conditional meaning.

Right. It expresses a situation that does not really exist. It isn't coming from a poem, but it sounds the same as if it were coming from a poem. (If it were coming from a poem, it would sound like that.)

dileepais it grammatically correct if I replaced the "were" with "was" in the following sentence

Yes, but as an American, it bothers me a little to hear 'was' in that context.

Even so, "as if" is generally treated differently from just "if". After "as if" you will find almost any tense, while after just "if" the choice of tenses seems more limited.

dileepaI heard that it is feasible to use "were" or "was" regardless of the singularity of the subject.

To be sure you have this right, let me review the tenses after "if" in second conditionals:

if I were, if you were, if he were, if she were, if it were
if we were, if you were, if they were

But this can be relaxed to the following:

if I was, if you were, if he was, if she was, if is was
if we were, if you were, if they were

So if we was, if you was, and if they was are impossible.

CJ

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dileepaIf something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideas, as if it were coming from a poem.

I'm a bit troubled by the conditionality in the sentence above. What I see is the zero conditional in the shape of If something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideas. Now, the problem I have is how the truncated part of the second-conditional as if it were coming from a poem could be 'glued' to that zero-conditional clause without causing confusion.

anonymousthe problem I have is how the truncated part of the second-conditional as if it were coming from a poem could be 'glued' to that zero-conditional clause without causing confusion.

A native speaker hears it as the following two conditionals. (Recall that 'as' means 'in the same way that' here. This is the connector, i.e., 'glue'.)

[If something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideas]0
in the same way that
[it (i.e., the 'something') would express emotions and ideas if it were coming from a poem]2nd.

Not to make it even more complicated, but the second conditional should probably be considered as a sub-part of the zero conditional, thus:

[If something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideas
in the same way that
[it (i.e., the 'something') would express emotions and ideas if it were coming from a poem]2nd ]0.


CJ

CalifJim[If something is or sounds poetic, it expresses emotions and ideasin the same way that[it (i.e., the 'something') would express emotions and ideas if it were coming from a poem]2nd ]0.

I see. Thank you.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

In fact, based on your answer, I could realize that I was mistaken earlier because I thought that "if we was", "if you was", "if they was" are grammatically correct. Therefore, thank you very much for assisting me in understanding these points.

dileepaIn fact, based on your answer, I could realize that I was mistaken earlier because I thought that "if we was", "if you was", "if they was" are grammatically correct.

Oops!

dileepaTherefore, thank you very much for assisting me in understanding these points.

You're welcome.

CJ