Many newspapers have been carrying transcripts from a trial here in the UK recently and there are a number of examples of a dialectal usage of the verb 'be' quoted that would be marked wrong if a student used them in an exam, yet they are common enough in many areas of England, particularly in the Midlands and the North, as well as among Cockneys.
It would seem that something that conjugates quite simply on paper does not conform so simply in practice.
Here are a few:
Was used with a plural:
There was two
There was two girls
There was a few weeks
This usage is also found with the present simple.
Were with I (not a subjunctive)
I weren't quite sure
I weren't watching
This usage seems to be confined to the past simple and not used with the present simple.
Some might simply classify this as wrong or a sign of a lack of education, but it is fairly common.
Categories: Grammar Topics