i was vs i were Hello All, Hope all of you are doing well, I have a question regarding was and were and when to use both, my English teacher told me the following: "The rule that is that was is for things that could be true but aren't, and were is for things that could never be true." is it correct? I was watching a movie one of the characters said: "if I was a game boy were would I be" he was looking for his game boy. this is a situation that could never be true, why did he use was. please could someone explain this for me. Thank you in advance.
Jul 2, 2015 5:46 PM
Answers · 3
I am not an English teacher, but "was" is the past tense of to be. It states a fact. "Were" indicates a possibility, that may or may not be real. I think the sentence you heard was "If I was a gamboy, WHERE would I be." It is technically not correct English - The speaker is NOT a gameboy. So it should be " If I WERE a gameboy, where WOULD I be." But many English speakers do not use this conditional voice properly. Do not worry too much. Good luck. English is such a hard language...
July 2, 2015
I disagree with your English teacher. For possibilities and things that are not true, technically one should always use "were" (e.g. "If I were a gameboy" or "If he were taller"). In my opinion, it does not matter if it could or couldn't become true. "Was" is just the past tense of "to be", as you know. ("I was here yesterday.") However, it is frequently used instead of "were" for these non-true statements — "If I was a gameboy" or "If he was taller". This is technically incorrect, but as Cynthia said, it is very common. I have seen it argued that it is becoming accepted usage.
July 3, 2015
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