Hi literary community!
I’m writing a book and I’m stuck on this part of a sentence:
Leo DiCaprio pretended he was a doctor..
Leo DiCaprio pretended he were a doctor?
I know that we are supposed to use “were” if used in hypothetical, but in this case it’s all tricky to me. He wasn’t a doctor, didn’t study for one, but he was in fact, according to the movie Catch Me if You Can, performing duties of a doctor in one scene.
The subjunctive is slowly disappearing from use and it isn’t used with pretend here.
Leonardo DiCaprio pretended [that] he was a doctor.
or, terser and better,
He pretended to be a doctor.
He was pretending that he was a doctor, not wondering whether he could or would be or were one. That he performed the duties of a doctor is entirely irrelevant.