Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 15:28:46 -0700 From: Sylvia Swift Subject: Re: as it were On Tue, 10 Oct 1995, Beth Lee Simon wrote: > According to the song's narrative, Neal McCoy's subjunctive man was, > in his real past, indeed a drinkin' man. Hence, the subjunctive > grounded in the simple past: "If I (still) was a drinkin' man" > which, for lyric writing/music purposes would be "If I was (still) a > drinkin' man". here i would say "man *had been*, in his real past,indeed a drinkin' man" etc. if i was a drinkin' man like i used to be i'd get myself a bottle and you'd be history you made me a thinkin' man when you walked out if i was a drinkin' man i wouldn't need you now explicitly says that he once was, but is no longer, a drinkin' man. thus the form of be in the first line expresses a condition contrary to fact, and subjunctive is called for. i think it has to be expressed in past because it is in the past relative to the "then" clauses (which are in subjunctive; note that it's not "i'll get myself . . . /you'll be history"). geez, who would have thought the subjunctive were so complicated? sylvia swift madonna[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]