Subjunctive issues

What is the subjunctive? It is a verb tense. People should use the past subjunctive when they have contrary-to-fact clauses, such as those that describe imaginary or hypothetical conditions.

The use of “if” in a sentence, requires the subjunctive tense. Usually we use “was,” but that is incorrect. It should be “were.”

“In a way, she felt as if she weren’t really here, as if the whole thing was nothing but a dream.” from A Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks.

The first if in that sentence is followed correctly by were. But the second is not. Why did he compose one correctly and not the other?

I found one in Nora Roberts’ High Noon. If I find it again, I will post it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge