If I did,

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

If I knew the answer, I would tell you.

Is the sentence mentioned above a correct use of the subjunctive mood?

I have learned that the correct pattern is "if + subject + were + infinitive". So, it should be this way: "If I were to know the answer, I would tell you." or "If I were to have known the answer, I would have told you."

What do you think?

Thank you very much.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "To be to" can't really be used with the stative, durative verb "know".

    If I were to find out the answer...
    If I were to have found out the answer...


    It doesn't work with "want" either.
    If I had wanted to be in your show, I would have let you know.
    If I were to to have wanted to be in your show, I would have let you know.


    Edit: I was assuming (mistakenly) that the OP wanted to use If I were to have known the answer, I would have told you to mean If I were to have learned the answer I would have told you.
     
    Last edited:

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It doesn't work with 'want' but 'If I were to know the answer...' sounds fine to me, if a little old-fashioned. 'If I knew...' is certainly what we'd say in modern English.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top