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be in sb's shoe / be sb 1) Which one is sensible? Which one is more sensible? Which one is formal? If I were you,... If I were in your shue,... 2) Why we use 'were' for 'I'? (instead of 'was') Please explain. Thank you.
Dec 31, 2015 8:23 PM
Answers · 8
If I were in your shoes = If I were you = used when you ​want to ​tell someone what you would do in ​their ​situation. When you make conditional sentences with 'if ' , you use the past tense to show that the situation is imaginary or unreal , and that you are not the other person . And, you cannot be. This is even true for singular pronoun eg If he were to go there , he would hate it ( its just an imaginary situation . He never went) To be = was or were . But, You use only " were' to show an imaginined conditional sentence .
January 1, 2016
They both seem like something I would only say to someone that I'm fairly close to. Saying this to my boss or something might sound disrespectful. Also, I believe "were" can be changed with "was" and the expression will have the same meaning "If I were/was you" or "If I was/were in your shoes..." A more formal way of expressing this idea may go something like "If I may recommend something..."
December 31, 2015
They are both sensible. Make sure you say "shoes" (plural) though, not "shoe"(singular). Neither are particularly formal expressions, but they would not cause offense in formal situations. The reason we use 'were' instead of 'was' is because the statement is about a counterfactual (untrue) hypothetical situation. I'm not REALLY you; I'm not REALLY in your shoes. It's just a hypothetical. This is called the "subjunctive mood" and English has a special way of marking it using different verb forms. However, the distinction in form between plain indicative verbs and subjunctive verbs is disappearing. Some grammar pedants will still insist that you must say "were" instead of "was" in your example sentences. But the reality is "was" is commonly used by native speakers these days.
January 1, 2016
Language Skills
Arabic, English, Latin, Persian (Farsi)
Learning Language
English, Latin