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  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    was or were

    Which of the following is correct?

    If your aunt dies when you are young, you will probably wish you had known her. If that aunt WAS your godmother, you'll miss her presence at religion events.

    OR

    If your aunt dies when you are young, you will probably wish you had known her. If that aunt WERE your godmother, you'll miss her presence at religion events.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    210

    Re: was or were

    If that aunt WERE your godmother, you'll miss her presence at religion events.
    Basically, you say "If that aunt were..."

    I have a feeling however that something is wrong with the grammar of the sentence. This would make me ask mysefl: can I make a future speculation and use the past at the same time? I am not sure.

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    19,397

    Re: was or were

    Since your aunt is dead, it ought to be "If she had been".

    If she was absent but still living, then "was" would be correct.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,059

    Re: was or were

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Since your aunt is dead, it ought to be "If she had been".

    If she was absent but still living, then "was" would be correct.

    Anglika,

    I'm puzzled.

    Could this not be a generic conditional, as opposed to a fact-counterfact situation where there's no actual aunt. Once the first condition is set, that this theoretical aunt dies when you're young, the question then isn't if she had been your godmother but whether she was.

    Whether she "had been your aunt" would only apply to an actual fact-counterfact situation, would it not?

    If it's a theoretical aunt, a theoretical condition, then it would have nothing to do with her being alive or dead, right?

    ORIGINAL:
    If your aunt dies when you are young, you will probably wish you had known her. If that aunt WAS your godmother, you'll miss her presence at religion events.

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