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    #1

    When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    Is the above sentence acceptable?
    I need native speakers' help.

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    #2

    Re: When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    Yes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    When I was a child, I wished I would have been a bird.

    Is that correct too?

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    #4

    Re: When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    In British English, no. I seem to recall that some American English speakers use the "I wish I would have been" construction. If I'm wrong, I'm sure an AmE speaker will correct me.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    You can sometimes hear the conditional used that way in AmE, but it doesn't sound natural to me.

    On the other hand, I think this is a case where Americans would tend not to use the subjunctive and would say When I was a child, I wished I was a bird.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: When I was a child, I wished I were a bird.

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Sitifan:

    The following information may interest you.

    (1) "[S]ometimes the unreality may refer to some time in the past, and then was is preferred [my emphasis] to were."

    a. "She spoke as if she was ashamed."

    -- Professor Otto Jespersen, Essentials of English Grammar (1933).

    (2) "If the reference is to time wholly past [my emphasis], the past indicative ["was"] is the usual [my emphasis] form for the condition."

    -- Professor George Oliver Curme, A Grammar of the English Language, Vol. II (1931).

    (3) "The 'past' subjunctive is now often called the were-subjunctive. ... It is used with present and future [my emphases] (not past) reference in various hypothetical clauses."

    -- Tom McArthur and Feri McArthur (editors), The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992).


    *****

    As GoesStation implied, perhaps the "rule" in current American English is something like this:

    Reserve the subjunctive "were" for present and future contexts; otherwise, use the indicative "was."

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