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  1. #1
    newyear2012 is offline Newbie
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    Question application of "were"?

    i got that "were" can describe impossiblities.

    ex: if you were a dog, you would bark .(impossible to be dog)


    but other instances like:

    1. if you were to pour it all in, you get a bad result...

    2. if you were to pour it in gradually...


    does "were" describe possiblity in 1 and 2?

    for 1 and 2, how does "were" compared with "are"? are both correct?

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    Quote Originally Posted by newyear2012 View Post
    i got that "were" can describe impossiblities.

    ex: if you were a dog, you would bark .(impossible to be dog)


    but other instances like:

    1. if you were to pour it all in, you get a bad result...

    2. if you were to pour it in gradually...


    does "were" describe possiblity in 1 and 2?

    for 1 and 2, how does "were" compared with "are"? are both correct?
    A past subjunctive 'were' (as in 'If I were...') without a following infinitive generally denotes a counterfactual state or condition (i.e. unreal at the time of utterance).

    Where it is followed by an infinitive ("If I were to V"), on the other hand, it normally denotes a future action considered by the speaker to be relatively improbable/purely hypothetical .

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    In the second person "were" is the correct choice whether it is the subjunctive or not.

    You wouldn't use "are" in your sentences.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    Quote Originally Posted by newyear2012 View Post
    1. if you were to pour it all in, you would get a bad result...
    Your example was missing a word which I have added above in red.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    newyear2012 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    still somewhat fuzzy with the explanations thus far. i followed up on the subjunctives from this grammar book.

    it simply breaks it down to non-truths and possiblities.

    with "non-truths" having application of "were" explained as contrary-to-fact. and with instances even with slightest of possibility being exempt the "subjunctive mood". and both my examples fit with "contrary-to-fact" rule.

    if anyone feel they can clear it up better. feel free to take a crack at it.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    Quote Originally Posted by newyear2012 View Post
    Still somewhat fuzzy with the explanations thus far. I followed up on the subjunctives from this grammar book.

    It simply breaks it down to non-truths and possibilities, with "non-truths" having application of "were" explained as contrary-to-fact, and with instances even with slightest of possibility being exempt the "subjunctive mood". and Both my examples fit with "contrary-to-fact" rule.

    If anyone feels they can clear it up better, feel free to take a crack at it.
    While we are working hard at helping you with this, please work hard at using correct capitalisation in all your posts. Thanks.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: application of "were"?

    1. If it is fine tomorrow, we will have a barbecue.

    When speakers present an action or state in predictive conditional terms, they are stating that the future [non-]occurrence or [non-]existence of an action or state is a consequence of some really possible prior action or state:

    2. If it were fine tomorrow, we would have a barbecue.

    In #2, the old subjunctive form were for all persons indicates absence of likelihood or reality; many younger speakers of BrE today would use was here. Only the speaker knows how unlikely the situation may be, though sometimes it is clear that the likelihood is zero, as in: If I were elected President of the USA tomorrow, I would re-introduce prohibition.

    3. If it were fine now, we would be sitting in the garden
    .


    When speakers present an action or state in counterfactual conditional terms, they are stating that the hypothetical [non-]occurrence or [non]-existence of an action or state is a consequence of some imagined action or state that did or does not occur or exist.

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