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finally an understandable explanation! thank you VERY much! lifted my headache Emotion: big smile
AnonymousYou always takes the 'were' plural form of to be. In the same way you say you 'are' in present tense. Only '1st'(i was/if i were) and third (he/she/it was) uses the singular 'was' form.
I think you have to be a little more clear. Maybe I am not reading it right. This part is kind of iffy to me:
'1st'(i was/if i were) and third (he/she/it was) uses the singular 'was' form.

Actually, "if .....were" can be used with any pronoun to express subjunctive context. A couple of replies had partially answered the question correctly. To help clear up all the Anon's comments, these are the facts.
We can go on using the verb "be" just like the teacher taught it in grammar school. Nothing is changed.

I am writing an email - present progressive.
I was talking on the phone with Jame last night -past progressive.
He/ she is looking for you - present progressive.
He/ she was looking for you - past progressive
They are driving to LA to Disneyland next week - present progressive future.
They were checking online for hotels last night. past progressive

If you have no issues with the above sentence, then the " I were " usage is pretty simple.

When someone makes a reference with " if I were" he is using the subjunctive mood to express impossibility or non-factualuality.
If I / he/ she were the burglar, why would I / he /she be still here talking to the police! I would have been gone! ( Fact:we didn't do it)
If I were the boss, I would have fired her 6 months ago. (fact: I am not the boss)

You can also say" She is getting married, I wish I were the lucky guy" ( the fact is, you are not the groom).
This is to say, "if something is in not real, factual or true" we can use the " If ...were" subjunctive. Hope this clears things up.
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"obviously, you don't say "they was" or "we was" under any circumstance."

If I were a self-loathing, fanatical liberal, I'd say that remark is racist, then selfishly and thoughtlessly ruin your life through Facebook and Twitter... and MSNBC. On the other hand, perhaps I'd call you my "comrade," because I could twist your remark into being anti-capitalist slander against a chain of grocery stores, called Weis (we is).

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Hi! I would just like to ask what the difference is between the two sentences below:

1. They are driving to LA Disneyland next week.
2. They will be driving to LA Disneyland next week.

Thank you!
Great explanation, thanks.

I just heard another expression that brought me here when I googled the phrase:

"We used to camp in the mountains when I were a kid"

Your explanation above clears it up for me, thanks:

"In the ordinary past tense of the verb to be, was is the first and third person singular: I was late and were is the second person singular and the plural:"
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this is indeed the most helpful. thanks!
Thank you, Rommie.
This is the best explanation you have posted my friend.
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Anonymous In the UNLIKELY POSSIBILITY subdivision, in the IF CLAUSE, the past-tense form were is used with subjects that would normally take was: ex. Even if I were [not was] invited, I wouldn’t go to the picnic.
Wouldn't it be better to say if I had been invited? Different invited, as the way you used it was as a descriptive, invited as opposed to not invited, whereas the way I used it was as an action verb, with my sentence structured to make the noun passive.
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