Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 78
    #1

    was were where what?

    I've just had a discussion with an American and and a British about the usage of was/were in conditionals (if I were/was you...) .

    "were" is definitely more formal but how colloquial/informal is "was"? It seems that there is a difference in AE and in BE.
    Apparently, in BE it can be used, to a certain extent, even in formal language whereas in AE only "were" seems to be accurate.

    I suppose there are even regional differences. However, what's your opinion?
    Last edited by meez; 23-Aug-2006 at 10:34.

  1. Mister Micawber's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 1,857
    #2

    Re: was were where what?

    .
    I agree with your respondents.
    .


    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 78
    #3

    Re: was were where what?


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 475
    #4

    Re: was were where what?

    But no native speakers would accept "if I am you", would they?


    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 78
    #5

    Re: was were where what?

    No, because it's grammatically incorrect...
    Last edited by meez; 23-Aug-2006 at 16:58.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142
    #6

    Re: was were where what?

    I agree; If I were (not was) you is used both formally and colloquially in AE.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #7

    Re: was were where what?

    Quote Originally Posted by meez View Post
    I've just had a discussion with an American and and a British about the usage of was/were in conditionals (if I were/was you...) .

    "were" is definitely more formal but how colloquial/informal is "was"? It seems that there is a difference in AE and in BE.
    Apparently, in BE it can be used, to a certain extent, even in formal language whereas in AE only "were" seems to be accurate.

    I suppose there are even regional differences. However, what's your opinion?
    Both are grammatical and both are in common usage in all dialects of English, Meez.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 25,100,000 English pages for "if I was".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 37,800,000 English pages for "if I were".

    +++++++++++++++

    CGEL - page 86

    Preterite was, ... is very widely used instead of irrealis were in these constructions, especially in informal style.: He talks to me as if I was a child; I wish I was going with you.

    Was
    has been in competition with were for 300-400 years, and in general the usage manuals regard it as acceptable, though less formal than were.
    ++++++++++++++


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #8

    Re: was were where what?

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    But no native speakers would accept "if I am you", would they?
    Of course, 'if I am you" is not the normal collocation. We generally use "if I were/was you, ...".

    But "If I am you" is sometimes used in English for special effect.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 159,000 English pages for "if I'm you".

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 475
    #9

    Re: was were where what?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Of course, 'if I am you" is not the normal collocation. We generally use "if I were/was you, ...".
    But "If I am you" is sometimes used in English for special effect.
    Results 1 - 10 of about 159,000 English pages for "if I'm you".
    So would a native speaker sometimes say "I wish I'm [someone]"?

  3. Mister Micawber's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 1,857
    #10

    Re: was were where what?

    .
    Not I.
    .

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •