...answer were(was?) close...

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Fictional

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hello everyone,

I have a question related to was vs were topic. I'm reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and in there are various examples where the author has used were, but I don't know the reason behind it. Following are some examples from the novel:

1. She knew part of the answer; she felt as if the whole answer were close and she would grasp it on some approaching day.

2. She clutched the receiver as if, unheeded, it were still a form of contact.

In the sentences given above, why has the author used were and not was?
 
  • dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    They're in the (past) subjunctive (which is often used with "as if/as though" to describe an improbable situation).
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Many people always use 'were' (rather than 'was') after 'as if' and 'as though'. It's a personal choice. It's related to the 'subjunctive' use for unreal conditions such as 'if I were rich'.
     

    Fictional

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Thank you, dn88 and Entanglebank. Now, I hope I wouldn't be looked down upon(with regards to my English) if I use was instead of were in these cases.
     
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