I wish I were/was

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Diddy, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. Diddy Senior Member

    C.A. Spanish
    I wish I die before I dream about you kiss me, I wish I wasn´t born to be down?

    Esta oración apareció en otro "thread" para una consulta distinta a ésta. A mí me llama la atención que diga: I wish I was't..., pues hasta donde yo aprendí en el uso del verbo "wish" se usa "were" para todas las personas?

    ...I wish I were not born to be down.
    ...I wish she/he were not born to be down.

    Me podrían ayudar con esto, por favor?
     
  2. unspecified

    unspecified Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English, USA
    Tienes toda la razón. Debería ser, como dices, "I wish I weren't". De todas formas, es un error bastante común.
     
  3. Diddy Senior Member

    C.A. Spanish

    Mil gracias por tu ayuda!!
     
  4. Alisterio

    Alisterio Senior Member

    Mexico City
    UK English
    A mi me enseñaron que tanto "I wish I weren't" como "I wish I wasn't" es correcto, nada más que la primera frase es más formal y se usa más en la escritura, mientras que la segunda se usa más comunmente en el lenguaje oral...
     
  5. Fairies

    Fairies Senior Member

    Chile
    Español
    Yo aprendí lo mismo que Alisterio, pero aún tengo mis dudas. ¿Es así?
    Ojalá respondan, ya que necesito saber esto urgentemente.
    Saludos :)
     
  6. VivaReggaeton88

    VivaReggaeton88 Senior Member

    Santa Ana, Costa Rica / New York, NY
    US/EEUU; English/Inglés
    I wish I weren't es lo correcto.
     
  7. Fairies

    Fairies Senior Member

    Chile
    Español
    Claro, cuando se trata de "wish" todos los pronombres van con "were". En el libro que tengo, explica que eso es lo más común y usado.
    Pero, ¿si alguien usase "I wish I was..." estaría totalmente incorrecto o no tan así? ¿Podría considerarse una respuesta válida en una prueba, por ejemplo?
     
  8. VivaReggaeton88

    VivaReggaeton88 Senior Member

    Santa Ana, Costa Rica / New York, NY
    US/EEUU; English/Inglés
    Estaría incorrecto pero a mí no me suena mal para nada. Por lo menos de donde soy yo, creo que se oye "I wish I was" más que "I wish I were", pero eso no quiere decir que es correcto.
     
  9. Plzenak Junior Member

    Aunque no soy nativo , diría que ´I wish I was´ es coloquial y no es literario . Y creo que se ha hecho de moda sobre todo en los EEUU .
     
  10. DiegoDeEscocia Senior Member

    Scotland
    English-British
    Creo que lo que es más correcto es 'I wish I weren't porque es el imperfecto de subjuntivo como 'fuera/estuviera' en español.

    Deseo que no estuviera nato ser pobre. (I'm assuming down is in the in the context of 'down and out' and not 'of low station' but I don't know the context. Hopefully the translation is good enough to make the point?)

    Muchas vezes oiréis 'I wish I was..' o ' If I was (X) I would (Y)' y algunos personas están intentando cambiar las regulas/leyes gramatical para que 'was' llege a ser otra valida opción alternativa....

    Pero si fuera tu, usaría solo 'were' porque es lo más correcto. ;-)

    Personalemente, opino que 'was' es, de hecho, incorrecto y detesto oírmelo (pero muchas personas no van a estar de acuerdo conmigo sobre este punto.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  11. roanheads Senior Member

    Scotland, english
    Pues, lo que me enseñaron , de joven , es que como dice arriba " Diego " es decir cuando el contexto va en subjuntivo entonces el verbo , incluso en singular es el subjuntivo " weren't "

    They wish the others weren't here. ( subjuntivo)
    I wish the others weren't here. ( " )
    I wish I weren't here ( " )
    Pero---
    They weren't here. ( Indicativo )
    I wasn't here ( " )
     
  12. DiegoDeEscocia Senior Member

    Scotland
    English-British
    Exacto.

     
  13. Persikov Junior Member

    Chile
    English - US Northeast
    Todo bien lo que dijo Diego, pero dudo que "I wish I were" o were subjuntivo exista solo en el idioma informal, por un ejemplo, vease la canción de Beyonce "If I were a boy"
     
  14. Sherlockat

    Sherlockat Senior Member

    Australia
    Castilian (Patagonian)
    It depends guys!
    Wish, in the long run, is "want"
    1. I wish + [clause had + v3 (pp)] :> sth that you regret because it didn't happen E.g. I wish I had gone to the party last light.
    2. I wish + [clause was or were (v2)]:> sth that you want now but is not true E.g. I wish I were/was closer to you.
    Now, some grammarians say that "was" is rather informal than "were", others it's a matter of style. "Were" is used "to identify" properly an event that is "unreal."

    The OLD says by "were": (formal) used to express a condition.
     
  15. Persikov Junior Member

    Chile
    English - US Northeast
    This is exactly the point. Are "some grammarians" correct? I did a quick with Google N-gram (I can't post the link as a new member), charting the two phrases "I wish I was" and "I wish I were". It turns outs I wish I were has been just slightly more common in written English over the last 200 years. It's hardly clear that it's obviously formal or informal. And again, as anecdotal evidence, the Beyoncé song "If I were a boy" is not exactly formal speech-making.

    This whole "old" question interested me, because the upper-intermediate English book which I am using to teach this year does not even mention "If I were", which seemed odd/wrong to me.
     
  16. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    In I buy shoes, "buy" is tensed (conjugated) to mark present time. In I bought shoes, "bought" is tensed to mark past time.
    But in If I bought shoes, "bought" is not tensed to mark past time. "Bought" is used to mark modality, the attitude of the speaker about his likelihood of buying shoes. That's why, to mark past time, we need the past perfect: If I had bought shoes
    The same reasoning applies to the verb "be."
    In I am here, "am" is tensed to mark present time. In I was here, "was" is past time.
    In If I was king, "was" is marking modality and not past time, just like "bought" above. "Were" does retain its old subjunctive meaning, and it's used to indicate less likelihood. The difference between "If I was" and "If I were" is in how we present the meaning of "likelihood" -- more likely for "was," less likely for "were." I would say If I were king, but Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, could rightfully say If I was king, because his likelihood of becoming king is stronger than mine will ever be.
    Having said this, it's also true that "were" in constructions such as If I were president of this company, If I were back in college, has become, for many, a fixed expression that rules out "was."
    Cheers
     
  17. Alisterio

    Alisterio Senior Member

    Mexico City
    UK English
    :thumbsup: Excellent explanation!
     
  18. AdrienDeLaChicago

    AdrienDeLaChicago Senior Member

    Hola a todos:

    El uso del subjuntivo de "to be" en inglés es "were."

    Ejemplos:

    If I were a millionaire.... "Si fuera millonario.... (pero la verdad es que no lo soy)

    If I were your brother....."Si fuera tu hermano....(pero en realidad no tenemos ninguna relación familiar)

    Imaginaos el uso del imperfecto en vez del subjuntivo.

    Ejemplos:

    Si era millonario

    Si era tu hermano....

    Terrible en español...terrible en inglés.

    Desgraciadamente el subjuntivo en inglés está muriendo y eventualmente va a desaparecer.

    Dicen que dentro de unos veinte años el uso del subjuntivo en español va a desaparecer. Pues es lo que dijo una salmantina hace unos años.
     
  19. Alisterio

    Alisterio Senior Member

    Mexico City
    UK English
    Adrien, I'm not sure how useful it is to compare grammatical constructions in English and Spanish directly, as they are not really equivalent to one another. As SevenDays mentions, "If I was a millionaire..." is also a case of the subjunctive mode in English, where (similar to other Germanic languages) the subjunctive is formed by moving the verb one tense further into the past, so a present tense becomes a past tense (If I was / were a millionaire right now, I would...), and a past tense becomes a past perfect ("If I had been a millionaire when I was young, I would have...).

    I really do believe that the "was/were" distinction is one of register (i.e., the former is less formal, and the latter is more formal), rather than it being correct or incorrect to say it either way.
     
  20. AdrienDeLaChicago

    AdrienDeLaChicago Senior Member

    Hello Alisterio.

    I have taken English language courses at a college level and have spoken to my professors regarding the use of the subjunctive. There is no matter of time or relativity of time regarding something that isn't actually true. If it's not true or if it's a wish or a supposition it's the subjunctive.

    It's not grammatically correct to use was in place of the subjunctive. Regardless if we are talking about an event years ago, or a few minutes ago, or a few minutes from now or way into the future. If it doesn't truly exist the subjunctive is used.

    People calling the use of "was" as informal and the use of "were" as formal is not correct.

    Feel free to access this page on wikipedia.com to get an overview of the English subjunctive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_subjunctive

    The use of was is a past indicative.

    Nowadays people are making claims that "was" is informal use of the subjunctive but it's wrong. People who are making these claims have no credentials and simply slap up a webpage touting their own interpretation of how the English language should be.

    Be that as it may, many college professors will not correct a student for the improper use of the word "was" when the subjunctive "were" should be used. This is because so many people say it that it is impossible to correct everyone.
     
  21. Persikov Junior Member

    Chile
    English - US Northeast
    This is the last post I write on this repetitive thread, but although I do understand the analysis which different members have done, I must repeat that "I wish I was" has been a commonly-used alternative for 200+ years according to Google's massive corpus of English published texts (which must have some formality, if they are published). To contend that huge numbers of people have been speaking and writing "wrong" for that long is a weird theory of language.

    The Spanish examples are only partially useful because the remnants of English subjunctive work in different ways than the Spanish equivilants... for example "I demand that he be on time" (use of infinitive) has nothing to do structually with "Insisto que el sea a tiempo"... etc.
     
  22. AdrienDeLaChicago

    AdrienDeLaChicago Senior Member


    ^ What you typed above is a good example o the subjunctive in English. Good job! :)

    However, in Spanish the verb "to be" (ser) cannot be used in that manner in which you expressed. It should be, "Insisto que llegue a la hora."

    With the verb "to be" the infinitive is the same as the subjunctive in English (when referring to the present) with the exception of the third person singular and for the verb "to be." Similarly to Spanish the subjunctive is used with the verbs:
    ask, demand, determine, insist, move, order, pray, prefer, recommend, regret, request, require, suggest, and wish are used, just to name a few.

    I demand that you be in class on time.

    Other examples:

    His requirement is that everyone be computer literate.


    He recommended that each driver report his tips. (Not "reports.")

    I'm curious to know of the use of "was" in formal texts. I did do a search to find more of what you are referring to. As far as I can see, people who support the use of "was" as a supposition or unreal statement are calling those in opposition "stuffy" while those who support the use of "were" call those who use "was" uneducated. Unfortunately, I can't find any academy of the English language similar to the Royal Academy of Spanish to support my claims.
     

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