When Do We Use “I Were” Instead Of “I Was”

Michael Uncategorized 5 Comments

I was home all day yesterday and heard a lot of noise coming from my neighbor’s house. It seems like they are having some work done there. If I were them, I would ask the carpenter to not make noise on a Sunday. I wish I were braver, because if I were, I would have gone over there and yelled at them!

For today’s free English Lesson, I’m going to show you some special cases when we use “I were” instead of the usual “I was.”. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check the lesson.

I am sure you know how to form and use the past tense of the “be” verb. We use was for singular subjects, and were for plural subjects, like this:

  • I was at home all day yesterday. ←Singular subject
  • The pen was on the table. ←Singular subject
  • We were at home all day yesterday. ←Plural subject
  • The pens were on the table. ←Plural subject

However, there are two basic exceptions to this rule. The first is after “if” in a conditional sentence. After “if”, we use were:

  • If I were taller, I would be a better basketball player. Not, If I was taller….
  • If Jack were here, he could fix the computer for us. Not, If Jack was here….
  • If I were you, I would quit that job and get a better one.

As well, we use were after “wish”:

  • I wish I were taller.
  • I wish Jack were here to fix the computer.
  • I wish I were good at sports!

Well, I hope you found this lesson helpful. How about writing a few sentences using If I were or If I was in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you!

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!


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