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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The If Was/Were Rule

Happy Writer Wednesday!

The If Were/Was Rule is a tough one for a lot of writers to remember, but it's actually pretty easy!

If you're writing about something that is improbable or unlikely, you use "were" instead of "was". If, however, you're writing about something that is possible or likely, you use "was" instead of "were".

If I were a teenager again, I would appreciate it more. (WERE because it's improbable that I'll be a teenager again.)

If she were alive, she wouldn't let fear stop her. (WERE because it's unlikely that she'll come back to life/)

If I was short with you, I'm sorry. (WAS because it's possible or likely that I was being a grumpy ass.)

If I was sleeping, I don't remember. (WAS because it's possible my sleepy self was sleeping.)

Still not sure? Look for the keyword "would" or "ought to". These are often indicators that you need to use WERE instead of WAS in the sentence.

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