If I were to ... Why were?

voonli24

Member
Malaysia
I have a couple of questions.

1. Everytime when we are making an assumptive statement like
" if i were to ... " why do we use were instead of was ? And is it the
same for she/he/it ?

<.....>
 
  • Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    I have a couple of questions.

    1. Everytime when we are making an assumptive statement like
    " if i were to ... " why do we use were instead of was ? And is it the
    same for she/he/it ?

    <.....>

    I believe this is the use of the conditional in English.

    If I were to
    If you were to
    If she/he was to
    If we were to
    If they were to

    As always, conjugations are so simple in English...I wish it was like that in other languages.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    I have a couple of questions.

    1. Everytime when we are making an assumptive statement like
    " if i were to ... " why do we use were instead of was ? And is it the
    same for she/he/it ?

    <.....>

    In BE, If + were is used for imagined situations.

    If she were president [which she is not], she would increase taxes on the monolingual.
    This can also be expressed as:
    Were she president, she would increase taxes on the monolingual.
    or
    If she were to be elected president, she would give a tax credit to everyone who correctly uses the apostrophe.

    If + was is used for a situation which happened in the past, where there is doubt.
    If I was to blame [and may be I was], I will pay for all the repairs.
    compare
    If I were to blame [and I definitely am not!], I would pay for all the repairs.



    Many people say "If I was", when in careful BE it would be "If I had been".

    If I was you, I'd have bought the red dress.
    better: If I had been you, I'd have bought the red dress.
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    This thread, being one of many about the use of subjunctive in the ENglish language might help (or you may search to find some of the others :) )
     
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