Style Guru

Hand writingIf wishes were horses: A lesson in hypotheticals

It’s Monday, again. Welcome to another week of earning a living. Hopefully, you’re in a good mood today. Me? I’m waxing subjunctive. It’s your lucky day that I’m willing to share.

Of course, if I were rich and famous, I wouldn’t be writing this blog every week. Alas, I’m not, and you’re stuck with another grammar lesson. Isn’t learning fun? Here comes the learning part: When expressing an improbable condition or a wish, desire or regret, use the subjunctive “were” instead of “was.”

If he were chairman of the Greenbrier County Historical Society, we would be able to preserve more buildings.

If I were to marry a millionaire, I wouldn’t have to worry about money.

If the commercial real estate industry were to collapse, the national economy would experience another significant downturn.

I wish it were possible for him to change his mind about leaving me.

If I were a grammar expert, I wouldn’t have to read the Style Guru every week!

Now, don’t you feel better?

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