Monday, May 03, 2010

Why Were After If?

The word ‘were’ after ‘if’


I’M A little confused on how and when to use the word “were” after the word “if”. Must “were” be used after “if” in any circumstance? The attachments were taken from newspapers here on the use of ‘if’ and ‘were’. Marc Ong

No, “were” need not be used after “if” in all circumstances, only in some. There are so many other verbs in the English language that can be used in the past tense in second conditional sentences when we are talking about an unlikely or impossible situation. Here are some examples in which the simple past tense of verbs other than “are” are used in the if-clause with “would” in the main clause:

“If I had wings, I would fly.”

“If you lost 100kg in a week, you would really be slim.”

However, in second conditional sentences beginning with “I”, “were” is usually used instead of “was”, for example in:

“If I were you, I would not buy that car.”

“If I were young again, I would try to be a professional tennis player.”

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin