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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 99
    #1

    When I were or When I was?

    Hi,

    Can I say "when I were a child I liked to skate"?
    Is it more polite than saying "when I was a child I liked to skate"?

    I'm thinking of the conditionals where you can say "If I were a child, I'd like to skate."

    Thanks

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 5,098
    #2

    Re: When I were or When I was?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazyaboutenglish View Post
    Hi,

    Can I say "when I were a child I liked to skate"?
    Is it more polite than saying "when I was a child I liked to skate"?

    I'm thinking of the conditionals where you can say "If I were a child, I'd like to skate."

    Thanks
    No, it's incorrect to say

    *When I were a child I liked to skate.

    You should use "was".

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #3

    Re: When I were or When I was?

    The indicative form was is used in the when-clause, because the speaker actually was a child.

    The subjunctive form were is used in the if-clause, because the speaker was not a child when s/he uttered the words. This is a hypothetical, counterfactual utterance.

    As BC wrote, the use of were in your sentence is incorrect.

    In the if-clause, were is correct, though many people, especially speakers of British English, use was these days.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 99
    #4

    Re: When I were or When I was?

    Thanks

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