"As if I was/were living in a fairy tale"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by grimbergen, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. grimbergen

    grimbergen Senior Member

    Korean
    Hello, members!

    In the afternoon, I went to the famous Park Guell. Every corner of the park was beautifully decorated with ceramic tiles, and it felt as if I were living in a fairy tale.

    The above is the original sentence I wrote, recalling my memories of summer vacation(Te amo España!). But a native English speaker told me that "were" should be changed into "was" because the tense in the context should be the past(was), and not the past continuous(were). And I cannot understand what does it mean. I just used "were" to make the "as if" part as a subjunctive/conditional.

    Could anyone please explain to me whether I should stick to were or not?

    Thank you in advance! =)
     
  2. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    What you wrote seems fine to me. I think both "was" and "were" are acceptable here.
     
  3. dermott

    dermott Senior Member

    Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy
    B.E. via Australian English
    I would use "were".
     
  4. grimbergen

    grimbergen Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you so much, Glasguensis and dermott! =)

    If both are acceptable here, could you clarify the difference between "as if I was living in a fariy tale" and "as if I were living in a fairy tale"? My guess is that the latter with the "were" emphasizes a hypothetical situation, untrue or impossible, whereas the former with the "was" simply describes my mood, or how I felt at the moment. Am I right?
     
  5. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    I don't see any nuance - it's simply a case of the traditional subjunctive being slowly replaced by the indicative, to the extent that indicative users don't realise that their usage is "new".
     
  6. dermott

    dermott Senior Member

    Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy
    B.E. via Australian English
    Yes, the subjunctive is slowly dying a death. Very much still alive in Italian, it's even used in advertisements.
     
  7. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    After 'as if' and 'as though', some speakers use 'was' and some use 'were'. Both are very common. I think it's just a personal preference. That is, I think there is no difference in certainty – in this situation, 'were' doesn't indicate any greater unreality than 'was'.
     
  8. grimbergen

    grimbergen Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you so much, Glasguensis, dermott, and entangledbank! =) Now, I am 100% clear about this, thanks to you! =)
     

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