Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 00:21:55 -0400

From: "H Stephen STRAIGHT (Binghamton University,


Subject: Re: as it were

Of course William H. Smith is right, and I am wrong: The use of "was" in

place of "were" is no less subjunctive, in the limited grammatical status

of that mood in English. If I would have been more careful to think

before I speak, I wouldn't have muddied the waters about the "loss" of a

distinctive subjunctive mood in English. Sorry.

On Tue, 10 Oct 1995, William H. Smith wrote:

I have read have a dozen postings saying that the subjunctive does/doesn't

exist, on the evidence of "If I was.." The anti's say that the subjunctive

has given way to the indicative past, but no one has noted that "If I

was/were..." is not past, it is present:

"If I were now as I once was..." If the subjunctive _were_ dead, we would

say, "If I am..."

Bill Smith

Piedmont College

Best. 'Bye. Steve

H Stephen STRAIGHT Binghamton University (SUNY)

Anthropology & Linguistics LxC Box 6000, Binghamton NY 13902-6000

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