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  1. Yourjones
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    #1

    I hope it weren't broken

    Hello,

    Mike said his phone had dropped in his toilet. I said, "I hope it weren't broken." Questions are two:

    1. Do I need to use "wish" to replace "hope"?
    2. I remember I could use "weren't" here as the sentence is in the subjunctive mood, but why did Mike, a native speaker, insist I must use "wasn't"?

    Thanks.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    You can't follow "it" with "weren't". What is the negative past simple tense of "it is"?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Yourjones
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    #3
    In subjunctive mood, the matches should be:
    I were
    you were
    he/she/it was?

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    We don't use the subjunctive after "hope" (or "want").

    Mike dropped his phone in the toilet. I said "I hope it isn't broken". (Direct speech)
    Mike dropped his phone in the toilet. I said that I hoped it wasn't broken. (Reported speech)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    Quote Originally Posted by Yourjones View Post
    in the subjunctive mood
    Is the following in the subjunctive mood?
    'I wish it had not been broken.' (It was already broken.)
    Not a teacher.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yourjones View Post
    ... why did Mike, a native speaker, insist I must use "wasn't"
    Do you mean MikeNewYork? He said the opposite to me.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    Quote Originally Posted by Yourjones View Post
    Hello,

    Mike said his phone had dropped in his toilet. I said, "I hope it wasn't broken."

    There are two questions:

    1. Do I need to use "wish" to replace "hope"?

    No. You don't know yet whether it was broken, right? So you can say:

    - "I hope it isn't broken."
    - "I hope it's not broken."
    - "I hope it wasn't broken."

    All those are correct. The word hope is the right word, because you don't know yet whether it's broken. The word weren't is the wrong word because he only dropped on phone in the toilet.

    Now suppose Mike had told you he dropped it in the toilet AND said it was broken. Then you would say:

    - "I wish it weren't broken."

    Now wish would be right, because you already know that it's broken. And weren't would be right, because that's what we use to describe an imaginary situation. For example, we say "If I were you...." or "If you were the president...." I'm not you, and you're not the president. They're imaginary situations.


    2. I remember I could use "weren't" here, as the sentence is in the subjunctive mood, but why did Mike, a native speaker, insist I must use "wasn't"?

    Because there was only one phone. It's singular. If Mike had dropped six phones in the toilet, you would say: "I hope they weren't broken."

    Thanks.
    You're welcome!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    If you two are going to discuss what I said to each of you, I would appreciate a link. We often use the subjunctive after "wish"; we don't use it after "hope".

  8. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I would appreciate a link.
    The link is https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...=1#post1147532

  9. Yourjones
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    #9
    Thanks Charlie! I was mistaken because I remember in the subjunctive mood we should say "it were" just like "I were" where both subjects are single pronoun. Thanks again.

  10. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: I hope it weren't broken

    Thanks, Matthew. Your statement was accurate.

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