Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • French
      • Home Country:
      • Belgium
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: May 2007
    • Posts: 664
    #1

    Cool was or were?

    Hi,

    Which ones are correct?

    If I was a rich man I would buy a yacht.
    or
    If I were a rich man I would buy a yacht.

    If it was raining, he wouldn't come.
    or
    If it were raining, he wouldn't come.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: was or were?

    All could be correct. It depends on the realm of possibiiity of the 'if' condition:
    In Fiddler on the Roof, it's "If I were a rich man" because this Russian peasant cannot conceive of any chance that he would ever be rich.
    In the modern western world, it is not so outlandish an idea, what with lotteries, rich relations dying...and entrepreneurism . Even if you strongly doubt it, it is not an impossible, ridiculous idea. Compare, "If I were President of the USA...", said by anyone who is not a native born American , since only native born citizens can hold the office...never mind all the other factors that would allow you to be even considered and nominated ( the background experience for one).
    With the 'raining', well.........

    The only way I can conceive of 'were raining" is if said by someone in the middle of the Sahara Desert, 'If it were raining, our so called ships of the desert would probably stampede in fear - they've never seen water from the sky in their life!'


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

    Re: was or were?

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Hi,

    Which ones are correct?

    If I was a rich man I would buy a yacht.
    or
    If I were a rich man I would buy a yacht.

    If it was raining, he wouldn't come.
    or
    If it were raining, he wouldn't come.
    All are correct, Bieasy. The subjunctive forms in English are moribund, that is, they are on the road to dying out. The few remaining subjunctive forms all have other ways to say the same thing.

    Both, If I was a rich man & If I were a rich man,

    are counterfactuals to "I am not a rich man".

    AND

    If it was raining & If it were raining

    are counterfactuals to "It's not raining".

    Sometimes, when we use an "If S was ...", it is not a counterfactual, it is an admission, an allowance that something could be true.

    A: He was definitely at the party.

    B: If he was there [allowing that what you say could be true], I sure never saw him. But I was pretty hammered.

    ++++++++++++++++++
    David wrote:
    The only way I can conceive of 'were raining" is if said by someone in the middle of the Sahara Desert, 'If it were raining, our so called ships of the desert would probably stampede in fear - they've never seen water from the sky in their life!'
    ++++++++++++++++++

    I'd say, David, that this means "now", as in,

    If it were/was raining now, he wouldn't come.

    I look out my window, there's hardly a cloud in a brilliant blue sky and the sun is shining brightly.

    If it were raining, the ground would be getting wet.

    If it were raining, the horse would be heading for the barn. She hates rain.

    If it were raining, my truck seat would be getting wet 'cause I forgot to roll up the window.

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
  •