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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 22nd, 2015, 09:56 am
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Join Date: Oct 22nd, 2015
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lxninow is on a distinguished road
Default If I "was" given 48 hours or If I "were" given 48 hours...Which is correct?

I'm somewhat embarrassed asking because English is my primary language...but, which is correct? Grammatically, I'm thinking it should be "I was" because of proper conjugation. But the fact that I am using "If"... does that change the verb tense? The context was: If I was given 48 hours to live, I would..... Thank you!!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 26th, 2015, 04:26 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
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susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: If I "was" given 48 hours or If I "were" given 48 hours...Which is correct?

Both are correct - they're just stylistic alternatives, and as you don't give a context for the sentence it's impossible to say which woukld be preferable. The second form of the verb has two main uses - expressing past events ( I had lunch early today) and expressing hypothetical events (Imagine you had $1 billion....)

The verb BE is unusual in that it has two versions of the second form :

a) a "regular" second form (ie were used for all persons, as for all other second form verbs, which never change) and which can only be used for hypothetical events

b) an irregular form (I/He/She/It was - We/You/They were) which must be used for past events and can be used for hypothetical events.

In formal style you would probably choose the regular second form of be (ie were for all persons) when expressing hypothetical events, but choose the irregular alternative for informal situations. So eg in a formal promotions interview : If I were given the chance, I would like to change department but in normal conversation If I was given the chance I'd like to change department .
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