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    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #1

    Question About Grammar

    We Know Already That The Simple Past Of The Verb To Be Is Was/were.in A Sentences I Write: I Was Studying......., But Why In The Conditionals I Write: If I Were.......? As A Future English Teacher. How Can I Explain This To My Students The Use Of Was/were In The First Person Singular?

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    #2

    Re: Question About Grammar

    Hello Ruben

    1. If I were you, I'd buy a new baseball cap.

    The "were" in #1 is an example of the past subjunctive, which uses "were" in all persons, singular and plural.

    The past subjunctive in an if-clause expresses a "contrary to fact" situation ("I" am not "you"). It doesn't have temporal significance.

    You could explain it as a past tense form, rather than a past tense; just as the past tense form in #2 suggests speculation, rather than real past-ness:

    2. If you bought a new baseball cap, women would find you irresistible.

    Does that help at all?

    MrP

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