“If you be my love” vs. ”If you were my {love}”

I was wondering how somebody in the 19th century would have said or written If you are/were my girl/boyfriend, you must never cheat on me I thought it might be something like this If you be my love, you shall never be untrue Halt! Before anyone objects and says that “shall” is reserved for the … Read more

Conditional clause

Yo, is this sentence correct? It’s hard to find a guide that speaks directly to this use of the subjunctive: I realized that this issue needed more active contemplation, were I to find any closure. More simply it’d be: I realized that, were I to find any closure, active contemplation was needed. Answer Only backshifting, … Read more

“If I am to pick a favourite” or “If I were to pick a favourite”

I will try to keep it short and simple. How do you answer the question if this was asked as a question in person – “What is your favorite song?” I want to say I have many but if I had to select one, it will be Numb by Linkin Park. So what is the … Read more

What mood is “if I were” in?

Wikipedia says about English subjunctive mood: In Modern English, the subjunctive is realised as a finite but tenseless clause where the main verb occurs in the bare form. Since the bare form is also used in a variety of other constructions, the English subjunctive is reflected by a clause type rather than a distinct inflectional … Read more

Has “if I was” be­come gram­mat­i­cally cor­rect in a south­ern US di­alect?

Liv­ing my whole life in Arkansas in the United States, I’m cer­tain that if I were is never used by lo­cals. In­stead, phrases like if I was and you was and they was have all re­placed their equiv­a­lents in other re­gions. I’ve heard these so of­ten that I think it’s nec­es­sary to ask if they … Read more

How do I correctly determine realis vs irrealis or indicative vs subjunctive in this sentence?

I stared at him to see if he were just a cartoon character. or I stared at him to see if he was just a cartoon character. The intended meaning of the two sentences above are that due to him (his behavior) that the writer is (I am) staring at, that is, in the writer’s … Read more

Irrealis “were” following “as if”

Is the subjunctive “were” in the sentence, “He seems as if he were spell-bound,” construed as counterfactual? Does it always preclude truth, or does it only here suggest that it was highly improbable that the subject, “he,” was spell-bound? If I exchanged a past-conditional “was” for the “were” would it open possibilities in the sentence? … Read more

Understanding sentence starting with “were”

I am reading a economics book and the following sentence confuses me: Were such individuals to gain a lot of money, they would stop buying insurance. It seems strange to me. What is the meaning of this sentence? What sentence pattern does it belong to? Answer Normally an unreal if-clause has the form if + … Read more