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NewsBlues - mrsbgrammar
4
Mrs. Bluezette's Grammar Guide
if-clauses
When to use "was" and "were" is usually pretty easy.
If the subject is singular, use the singular verb "was."
v
The tape was in the editing booth.

If the subject is plural, use the plural verb "were."
v
The photographers were in a meeting.

But take a look at what happens with "if clauses."
v
IF I WERE you, I would retrack that narration.

The subject "I" is singular, but because there's an "if" ahead of it, the
plural "were" is the correct verb.

Here's an easy way to remember.
If what you're saying is not true (contrary to fact), whether the
subject is singular or plural, it takes "were."
v
Chris Taylor knows his way around the track as IF HE WERE at
home.

Taylor is not at home; he's at the track.
v
IF HE WERE a better reporter, he'd have gotten that interview.
v
IF IT WERE warmer today, I'd do the live shot in my
shirtsleeves.

Mrs. B cautions you.
The challenge now is not to correct everyone who makes the
"if-clause" mistake.

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