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  1. #1
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    "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

  2. #2
    Huda-M's Avatar
    Huda-M is offline Senior Member
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    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.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    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"?

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    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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