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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    The way we was

    Hello,
    There is one Simpson episode that has the name:
    The way we was.

    Although I guess was belongs to way, it sounds very weird to me.
    Is this sentence really correct?

    "The way we were" sounds much better to my ears, but maybe it's because I'm German and in German it would be were.
    (If you would completely translate it.)

    Thank you!

    Cheers!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The way we was

    Yes, in correct grammar, it absolutely would be "The way we were." I'm sure there was something in the episode that made this deliberate manipulation of the grammar make sense.

    Remember - don't use songs or tv/movie dialog as the standard for correct grammar. Your understanding of English is definitely good enough that you can tell when things are wrong!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Shenfeng's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The way we was

    Hey,

    you are correct when you say that it must be "The way we were". It is something you would say when looking back on a time where you were only just beginning something. In German we would say something like "So wie wir waren" or "Wie alles begann".
    There is also a movie with Robert Redford by that name.

    In colloquial American English 'were' is sometimes exchanged with 'was':

    (1) We was hitchhiking down a lonesome road.
    (2) I wish I was a little bit taller.

    I think this emerged from the Hip-Hop/Rap scene, either because it is perceived to sound 'cool' by a certain group of people or because it facilitates intonation. I guess it is both.

  4. MASM's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The way we was

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    There is one Simpson episode that has the name:
    The way we was.

    Although I guess was belongs to way, it sounds very weird to me.
    Is this sentence really correct?

    "The way we were" sounds much better to my ears, but maybe it's because I'm German and in German it would be were.
    (If you would completely translate it.)

    Thank you!

    Cheers!
    It should be "were" but I remember reading somewhere that in non-standard English people use "was" for both plural and singular.

    The other thing I can think about is that as the title of the chapter makes reference to the film "The way we were" maybe they couldn't/wouldn't copy the exact title as it was. (but that might be irrelevant)

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The way we was

    Quote Originally Posted by Shenfeng View Post

    (1) We was hitchhiking down a lonesome road.
    (2) I wish I was a little bit taller.
    I'd like to differentiate between these examples.

    1 sounds awful to me, is clearly sub-standard, and a mark of a lack of education (or any desire to sound educated). There are few native speakers who do not know how to properly conjugate the verb "to be" who who don't know that "we" takes "were." If I were writing fiction and had to write dialog to show someone was poorly educated, this is how I'd have them talk.

    2 is a different case. Many otherwise well-educated people don't understand the subjunctive. We say "I was the tallest girl in my class" so why wouldn't they say "If I was a little bit taller"? They simply don't know that it becomes "were" in the subjunctive.

    There's an excuse of "If I was" because we say "I was" in simple past. (There's no excuse for "We was.")
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. Shenfeng's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The way we was

    Hey Barb,

    thanks for the differentiation. I know about how people can't get the subjunctive right. We have the same problem in German. I don't find it that problematic, since it happens to me quite a lot, too.

    Do you really think that those people saying for example 'we was' just don't know any better? Of course, there certainly are people who can't conjugate properly, but I also think this is some kind of a trend, where people deliberately say things incorrectly, because their milieu expects them to (e.g. in Rap music).

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The way we was

    Shenfeng, you may be right. But since I can't stand listening to rap music either, it all sound awful to me!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. Shenfeng's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The way we was

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Shenfeng, you may be right. But since I can't stand listening to rap music either, it all sound awful to me!
    Good point

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    #9

    Re: The way we was

    [QUOTE=Nightmare85;586880]Hello,
    There is one Simpson episode that has the name:
    The way we was.

    Although I guess was belongs to way, it sounds very weird to me.
    Is this sentence really correct?

    "The way we were" sounds much better to my ears, but maybe it's because I'm German and in German it would be were.
    (If you would completely translate it.)

    Thank you!

    Cheers![/QUOTE



    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon.

    (1) Many years ago, I told a group that it is terrible how some popular songs "murder" the language.

    (a) My example was: "She don't love me."

    (b) A young man spoke up and said: Perhaps you don't understand. Sometimes in a song, a one syllable word like "don't" fits better than a two-syllable word like "doesn't." It's a matter of rhythm.

    (c) I learned a well-deserved lesson in humility that day.

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: The way we was

    Another example of that is "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. We all know you can't have a double negative in sentence, yet "I can't get no satisfaction" is repeated over and over in the song. "I can't get any satisfaction" would not have scanned properly.

    Song lyrics and poetry are regularly guilty of poor grammar for precisely the reason of the rhythm being more important.

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