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  1. #1
    SwordAngel is offline Newbie
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    Question Imperfect subjunctive vs past subjunctive

    What tense is this, really?
    "I were"
    There are two Wikipedia articles that seem to contradict each other when it comes to the tense of the above. The Subjunctive article suggests that it is the past subjunctive. In contrast, the English verbs article says that it is the imperfect subjunctive, with the past subjunctive being the same as the (present) conditional.

    So which article is correct?

    And, in any case, can this form be used in an independent clause to express a suggestive question about the present? For example:
    "Were you able to quote all of the items in our request?"
    Would it mean the same as "Are you able to ...," only in a suggestive way? I always thought it should be "Would you be able to ..."

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imperfect subjunctive vs past subjunctive

    SwordAngel

    See the table here English Grammar - The Subjunctive - Word Power and find out more here § 61. subjunctive. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996


    "Were you able to quote all of the items in our request?" is not the same as "Are you able to ..., ."

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    SwordAngel is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Imperfect subjunctive vs past subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    SwordAngel

    See the table here English Grammar - The Subjunctive - Word Power and find out more here 61. subjunctive. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996


    "Were you able to quote all of the items in our request?" is not the same as "Are you able to ..., ."
    So according to the pages you give me, there is no such thing as the imperfect subjunctive, at least in modern English grammar; and in Wikipedia's English verb article, somebody has either confused the two tenses or committed a misnomer.

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