Language fascinates me. Here’s one of my all-time favorite grammar rules:

Incorrect: If I was you, I’d trim the hedge and then mow the lawn.

Correct: If I were you, I’d trim the hedge and then mow the lawn.

Why? Simply because I’m not you.

photoWhen talking about something that’s not real, the verb gets changed to point that out. This change emphasizes the switch from what’s real and actual to the world of hypothetical and/or impossible. It’s called the subjunctive present, if you want to be technical about it, and many languages do it, not just English.

Personally, I imagine ancient grammarians discussing this over papyrus and reed pens, and it just tickles me. In my head, their conversation goes something like this:

“We have left reality and are about to enter the world of hypothetical possibility,” says a robed man with a long, white beard.

“Well, we shall need a code word to alert the listeners,” says another.

“Scribe!” they call in unison. “Write this down…”

Yeah, I love those guys.
~
My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon. I’ll sign it for you.

Advertisements