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    #1

    If-was or If-were

    I've been wondering what the correct usage of IF is.

    When we use IF, is the linking verb WERE should be used?

    For example,

    If that was the case,
    If that were the case,

    which of the two is correct?

    Thank you.

  1. SirGod's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If-was or If-were

    *Not a teacher

    In formal English, were is the best option. However, you will probably hear "was" more than "were".

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If-was or If-were

    Quote Originally Posted by SirGod View Post
    However, you will probably hear "was" more than "were".
    This is especially true of BrE. Americans tend to use 'were' more.

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    #4

    Re: If-was or If-were

    Quote Originally Posted by Yura Reiri View Post
    I've been wondering what the correct usage of IF is.

    When we use IF, is the linking verb WERE should be used?

    For example,

    If that was the case,
    If that were the case,

    which of the two is correct?

    Thank you.


    A NON-TEACHER'S OPINION


    Hello, Yura Reiri.


    (1) You have asked an excellent question. This is how I

    understand it.

    (2) It all depends on what you wish to say.

    (3) If you are talking about something that is definitely

    not real or possible at the present time, "good" English requires


    "were":


    Martha's mother: I don't care what anyone else says. I think that

    you are very beautiful.

    Martha: If that were the case, I would have a boyfriend, and I don't.

    (We should use the so-called subjunctive here, for Martha is -- sadly --

    not beautiful, and she knows it. If I were beautiful = I am not beautiful.

    For example, I am an old man. If I were younger (I am not), I would

    have better health. But since I am old, my health is getting worse.)

    (4) Sometimes "if that WAS the case" is actually the "good" English.

    This is difficult to explain, but I shall try my best.

    George: What's wrong? Are you angry with me?

    Mona: Yes, I am.

    George: Why? What did I do?

    Mona: Remember last week's party?

    George: Yes, I do.

    Mona: Well, you were very rude to me.

    George: I do not remember being rude to you last week.

    Mona: Well, you were.

    George: Listen, Mona, if that WAS the case (that I was actually

    rude to you last week), I now apologize to you.

    (If that was the case = if something like that actually happened in the

    past.)


    Sincerely yours,


    James

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