How does the subjunctive and conditional moods work ...

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DieuEtMonDroit

Senior Member
Swedish
How does the subjunctive and conditional moods work in the english language?

The only thing I can actually think of is were.
E.g.

If I were richer I would buy a new car.

If he were smarter he could get into college.
 
  • Boston Dude

    Banned
    English of USA
    Well, if I were an expert, I would say that you are correct. A lot of people use the word was. If I was with you, I would have hit you. Well, in this case it is not correct. If I were with you, I would have hit you.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Other people and I have been saying on this forum for quite a while that the subjunctive should be limited to counterfactual or impossible conditions:

    If I were an expert - means either I'm not or couldn't be an expert.
    If he were smarter - means either he isn't or couldn't be smarter.

    If I was to come to see you suggests I'm more likely to come to see you than if I were to come to see you.

    That accords with my experience of the usage of the subjunctive in if-clauses. It may even be right.
     
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