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    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 722
    #1

    Were I him?

    Can I change from "If I were him" to "Were I him"? I thought it was a little awkward...

  1. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #2

    Re: Were I him?

    You're right - it's pretty awkward. It's just about acceptable though - if rather mannered - in some formal contexts - possibly in public speaking. This sort of conditional is sometimes fossilized in idioms: "Had I but known" is a pretty common alternative to 'If I'd only known".

    Here are some Google results:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 9,250 English pages for "Had I but known".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 28,800 English pages for "If I'd only known".

    So, about a third of the worldwide hits. But in UK pages, the ratio flips from 1:3 to 3:1:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 378 English pages for "If I'd only known" :.uk.
    Results 1 - 10 of about 1,040 English pages for "Had I but known" :.uk.

    b

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