Interested in Language
In the sentence If I were in America and there was/were a man doing sth,then..., which verb should be used?
For a present impossible situation, we will say If I were..., but half of my English and American friends will use If I was..., which is not standard, but acceptable nowadays meaning the same thing; I know all the conditonal sentence rules, but they just don't help.
"If I were in America and there was a man..."
Last edited by bhaisahab; 19-Oct-2012 at 12:08.
I'd say "were" for the first and "was" for the second. It is your being in America that is "impossible."
And yes, many natives use "was" for this. They don't know what the "subjunctive" is.
Thank you. It seems better to use was.
That said, however, since the past indicative (was) is widely accepted by many native users of English even for counterfactual hypotheticals of this kind, there is clearly no grammatical problem posed by mixing the two forms. Some speakers might, however, object on stylistic grounds.
Does it mean that in that sentence there were a man.... is also OK?