Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 02:01:50 -0400


Subject: Re: If I was

stephen straight said:

For the record, my "If I would X, then I would Y" was meant to exemplify

the LOSS of a distinctive subjunctive form in favor of the conditional,

which is used in some dialects in place of the former subjunctive. It's

sort of a verbal concord in which both clauses in a conditional conjunct

receive conditional marking, with only the "if" and "then" left to tell

you which clause is performing which function.

i don't think you can say that the subjunctive and the conditional

could replace one another, since they're different sorts of things.

the subjunctive is a mood which is used in the context of a

counterfactual conditional--the conditional isn't replacing it, it's

serving as an environment for it. and still we can see that there is

an effect on the mood of the verb just by being in that environment--

it's not "if i will" it's "if i would." the indicative still isn't

an option here. it may not be what you think of as "the"

subjunctive, but it is a subjunctive use of "would".

viva the subjunctive viva!