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If I were / If I was

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Take a look at the two following sentences. Why do we use were in the first sentence and was in the second.

If I were rich, I would buy you a car.

If she was feeling sick, it's good that she went home.


If I were rich...<-- I am not rich, but I imagining what I would do if I were.

"I were" is called the subjunctive mood, and is used when you're are talking about something that isn't true or when you wish something was true.

If she was feeling sick...<-- It is possible or probable that she was feeling sick.

"I was" is for things that could have happened in the past or now.

If I Were Examples

If I were you, I would study harder. < < I am not you. It is impossible for me to be you.
If he were a woman, he would have lots of babies. < < He is not a woman!

If I Was Examples

If I was wrong, I am sorry. < < I might have been wrong.
If I spoke to her, I don't remember. < < I might have spoken to her.

Writing Practice

How would you complete these sentences? Leave your answers in the comments area.

If I were rich, I would ...

If I were the president of my country, I would...

If were a bird, I would...

If I were young again, I would...

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Now decide if the following sentences need was or were:

  • 1) If I ___ invisible, I would walk into pop concerts for free.

  • 2) If I ___ rude to you, then I am sorry.

  • 3) If I ___ a politician, I would do everything I could to help the people.