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How does it work with the moods? I found this site which has a long list of conjugations, and it has " I were " for the Past subjunctive.

Tamia - If I Were You

With moods, just like tenses, we know the conjugation. That's because every conjugation happens for some combination of tense and mood. There is a never a verb which has a tense but no mood or a mood but no tense. If we don't name a mood, such as when we talk about the "past tense" it's because the most common mood, the indicative, is assumed. As in, you are indicating something, in other words saying that something exists or is true. Don't worry too much about moods as a category -- other than conditional, they are simple and consistent in English.

Studying the conditional as its own unique category should be enough because English has a great deal of nuance in conditionals. Based on some of the other answers, I have decided to clarify with further examples and discussion. This is not to say that "If I was" is never correct! Rather, it has a different meaning. This page explains it well. Here are two examples that I hope make it clear:.

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This is subjunctive because it tells me that the speaker does not believe he was sick and is imagining some different reality and how things would be different. This is indicative because it tells me that the speaker doesn't know whether he was sick. He is speaking with uncertainty about this reality in which we live, not an imagined reality where something is different. I didn't say "most common mistakes" because it is easy to understand the meaning even if the wrong word is used. In this sentence, we know that the speaker is speaking in subjunctive mood even though he used "was", because the "would have" is unmistakably subjunctive.

if I were you or if I was you

You should avoid this usage on a resume or in an academic paper, and probably even in important business meetings. In other situations it is generally consider informal, rather than a mistake. In years, it is very likely that "if I were" is going to be gone from the language and will be only found in historical usage. There was a time when people in England went to jail for referring to the King as "thou" instead of "you". Then for probably a hundred years, some people ignored the difference and some others people said "those fools have terrible grammar and no respect.

In Latin one had a systematic logic to arrange the conjugation of a verb. See here the conjugation of " esse " to be.

If I were you...

This system got totally lost in English. Compare this English conjugation table of "to be" here. For me such a conjugation table is a total chaos, to say the least. And I don't want to hint at how many things are arranged in the wrong way. And there are some misconceptions about mood.

Often you read "mood" is no tense. Have a look at the Latin table then you clearly see that there is a present tense in indicative and subjunctive. The same is true for past tense. In English the subjunctive forms have got lost.


There is only a small remainder: In all other cases the subjunctive forms are identical to the indicative forms. This is the cause that in English conjugation tables the subjunctive column is simply omitted. But this confuses the picture.