Were I him?

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belly_ttt

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
Can I change from "If I were him" to "Were I him"? I thought it was a little awkward...
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
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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