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Hey... I was in the states for a year and I learned a lot of english.
Well I came back to germany and in the first english lesson, I said
a sentence like this: "If I would have called, he would still be alive."
My teacher said it's wrong, because you can't use would in a subjunctive.
I asked my girlfriend... she is from the us and she said, that they changed
it two years ago, so that you could use would...

My problem is, that I can't find anything that says that using would is allowed....
please help me....
Comments  
Hi,

You hear some people say If I would have called, he would still be alive but educated people will agree with your teacher that it's wrong and that you should say If I had called, he would still be alive

my girlfriend .... said, that they changed it two years ago

I admire her confidence, but I'm sorry to tell you she's mistaken. First, there is no special group of people who can just decide that language will change. Second, language does change, but changes like the one we are discussing just happen gradually over a period of many years, not just in two years.

Best wishes, Clive
AnonymousShe is from the US and she said, that they changed it two years ago, so that you could use would...
Is it that Mr Bush declared that his English be standard American English?

paco
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Chapters 8 and 9 at the following website cover the use of would and the subjunctive mood, respectively:

http://www.fortunecity.com/bally/durrus/153/gramtoc.html
The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.
A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English. 1996:
subjunctive after wish. Yet another traditional rule requires you to use were rather than was in a contrary-to-fact statement that follows the verb wish: I wish I were (not was) lighter on my feet. Many writers continue to insist on this rule, but the indicative was in such clauses can be found in the works of many well-known writers.
would have for had. In spoken English, there is a growing tendency to use would have in place of the subjunctive had in contrary-to-fact clauses, such as If she would have (instead of if she had) only listened to me, this would never have happened. But this usage is still widely considered an error in writing. Only 14 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the previously cited sentence, and a similar amount—but 16 percent—accepts it in the sentence I wish you would have told me about this sooner.
SpoonfedBabywould have for had. In spoken English, there is a growing tendency to use would have in place of the subjunctive had in contrary-to-fact clauses, such as If she would have (instead of if she had) only listened to me, this would never have happened. But this usage is still widely considered an error in writing. Only 14 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the previously cited sentence, and a similar amount—but 16 percent—accepts it in the sentence I wish you would have told me about this sooner.

Interesting. I don't think I've heard it much in BrE. Is it an AmE phenomenon, I wonder?

MrP

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MrPedanticInteresting. I don't think I've heard it much in BrE. Is it an AmE phenomenon, I wonder?

The result of my google search is as follows :

A) I wish X had told ~ : B) I wish X would have told ~
Gutenberg 181 : 0
UK 667 : 161
EDU 598 : 167
CA 767 : 162
AU 627 : 66

paco
Thank you, Paco!

There's more of it around than I'd have thought.

MrP