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    #1

    "Was" v. "Were" question

    Hi all,

    .....I am drawing a mental blank and hope someone here can help me out. I'm working on a song lyric and one of the lines is "I'd give the world to see your face / if it were smiling". For some reason the word "were" feels out-of-place there, but so does "was" if I substitute it. Which is grammatically correct? I'm sure the right one will sound good once I know it's the right one!

    Thanks,
    Steve in Florida

  1. Huda-M's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "Was" v. "Were" question

    I was told that 'were' is used if we are predicting/imagining or thinking some thing.

    Like in: If I were in a palace etc.

    So, 'if it were smiling' would mean that the person is thinking that the face is smiling or if the face smiles.


    Hopefully a teacher would help you in a better way.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "Was" v. "Were" question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alniter View Post
    Hi all,

    .....I am drawing a mental blank and hope someone here can help me out. I'm working on a song lyric and one of the lines is "I'd give the world to see your face / if it were smiling". For some reason the word "were" feels out-of-place there, but so does "was" if I substitute it. Which is grammatically correct? I'm sure the right one will sound good once I know it's the right one!

    Thanks,
    Steve in Florida
    After "if", we use "were" in all cases (if I were rich, if you were thin, if he were president).

    My only thought here would be that it is not so much the face that is smiling, but the person. A smile appears on the face, and you can describe "a smiling face", but we wouldn't normally say that a face actually "smiles". How about "I'd give the world to see your face / If you were smiling"?

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    #4

    Re: "Was" v. "Were" question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alniter View Post
    Hi all,

    .....I am drawing a mental blank and hope someone here can help me out. I'm working on a song lyric and one of the lines is "I'd give the world to see your face / if it were smiling". For some reason the word "were" feels out-of-place there, but so does "was" if I substitute it. Which is grammatically correct? I'm sure the right one will sound good once I know it's the right one!

    Thanks,
    Steve in Florida
    In fact, you're wrong. The grammatically correct "were" sounds out of place. This is a pop song, and you should use the ungrammatical "was".
    Your song will have absolutely no street cred if you insist on correct grammar.
    Besides, "was smiling" sounds better to sing.

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    #5

    Re: "Was" v. "Were" question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alniter View Post
    Hi all,

    .....I am drawing a mental blank and hope someone here can help me out. I'm working on a song lyric and one of the lines is "I'd give the world to see your face / if it were smiling". For some reason the word "were" feels out-of-place there, but so does "was" if I substitute it. Which is grammatically correct? I'm sure the right one will sound good once I know it's the right one!

    Thanks,
    Steve in Florida

    Why don't you try something along the line
    "I'd give the world to see your face/ were it smiling" ?

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