Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 09:28:35 -0500 From: "Kathleen M. O'Neill" Subject: Re: Delete that last message! >I have heard the phrase, "as it were," such as, "The ball was round, as it >were." The question I have, though, stems from the use of the plural >past tense "were." If it were to be "grammatically" correct, would that >not be "as it was"? Or is this a regional type of thing? Just a thought! >KVK III Kev- The entry in "A Dictionary of American Idioms" (2nd Ed., Adam Makkai, ISBN 0-8120-3899-1) for AS IT WERE reads as follows: "adv.phr. As it might be said to be; as if it really were; seemingly. -Used with a statement that might seem silly or unreasonable, to show that it is just a way of saying it. 'In many ways children live, as it were, in a different world from adults.' (Children and adults seem to live in different worlds, but it's just because their interests are so different.) 'The sunlight on the icy branches made, as it were, delicate lacy cobwebs from tree to tree.' (The ice on the trees seemed to be lacy cobwebs.) Compare to SO TO SPEAK." Hope that helps. Of course, you need to be aware that the "were" in that phrase is _not_ the plural past tense "were," but a subjunctive "were." ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;Kathleen M. O'Neill ... Language Laboratory Technician I ; ;koneil1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ... u55354[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ; ;::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::; ;University of Illinois at Chicago ... Language Laboratory ; ;703 South Morgan Street (M/C 042) ... Grant Hall, Room 311 ; ;Chicago, IL 60607-7025 ; ;312.996.8838 or 8836 ... 312.996.5501 FAX ; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;