It looks as if it <is><were> going to rain

wolfbm1

Senior Member
Polish
Hello.

1. It looks as if it is going to rain.
2. It looks as if it were going to rain.

I think both sentences say the same. It might rain. It is possible.

Is sentence #2 with the subjunctive "were" just an outdated version of sentence #1?

Thank you.
 
  • DonnyB

    Member Emeritus
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No: sentence #2 needs a main verb in the past tense to make it work for me:

    2a. It looked as if it were going to rain.

    Even then, I suspect many if not most people would use the indicative nowadays and do it as:

    2b. It looked as if it was going to rain.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You might only say sentence 2. if the possibility of rain was more or less non-existent.
    I regard it as a hypercorrection.

    You can have sentences referring to the present like It looks as if he owned the car in situations where it is not true that he owns it.
    Compare this with It looks as if he owns the car.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    No: sentence #2 needs a main verb in the past tense to make it work for me:

    2a. It looked as if it were going to rain.

    Even then, I suspect many if not most people would use the indicative nowadays and do it as:

    2b. It looked as if it was going to rain.
    Thank you, DonnyB.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    You might only say sentence 2. if the possibility of rain was more or less non-existent.
    I regard it as a hypercorrection.

    You can have sentences referring to the present like It looks as if he owned the car in situations where it is not true that he owns it.
    Compare this with It looks as if he owns the car.
    Sentence #2 is hypercorrect. It almost sounds like it is not true that it is going to rain.
     
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