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were-Subjunctive

Form of were-subjunctive

  were-subjunctive
be
I were
you were
he, she, it were
we were
you were
they were
Note that the subjunctive does not change according to person (I, you, he etc).

Use of were-subjunctive

In the following examples, you can see that we sometimes use the were-subjunctive (instead of was) after:

Note that in these cases were is always correct, but was is possible in informal language:

Formal with were Informal with was
I would go if I were younger. I would go if I was younger.
If he were not so mean, he would buy one. If he wasn't so mean, he would buy one.
I'd tell her if I were you. We do not normally say "if I was you" even in colloquial language.
It's not as if I were ugly. It's not as if I was ugly.
She acts as if she were the Queen. She acts as if she was the Queen.
I wish I weren't so slow! I wish I wasn't so slow!
I wish the computer were working. I wish the computer was working.
Suppose she were here. What would you say? Suppose she was here. What would you say?
If I Were a Rich Man Fiddler on the Roof
If I were a boy Beyoncé
If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby? Tim Hardin
Strange as it may seem, although the words hope and wish seem to be similar, we do not use the subjunctive with hope. Correct sentences with hope would be, for example:
  • I hope that this computer works.
  • I hope that this computer is working.