This past week has been a little insane. J and I decided to take an impulse trip to Wisconsin to see my sister and brother-in-law and spend the day at Six Flags (which is about an hour away from their apartment). The night before we left, we decided to stop in Chicago and watch the Tigers take on the White Sox, so instead of leaving around 2pm as planned, we left at 8am. I also might’ve stayed up until nearly 2am finishing The Hunger Games series.
Let’s recap: 7-hour drive with a pit stop in Chicago Tuesday (running on six hours of sleep), Six Flags all day Wednesday, 7-hour drive Thursday. Not to mention J’s 21st birthday festivities Thursday night and the Tigers game again Friday.
Zero complaints about this past week, except that I felt like I was running on fumes almost the entire time. I was trying to explain the difference between fewer than and less than to J on Wednesday, when suddenly I had no idea how exactly to explain it. I kind of strung together a few words and hoped it made sense. (It didn’t. But my sister was able to correct me. Grammar runs in my family.) On top of that grammar mishap, I was talking to my mom on Thursday and confused was and were.
Clearly, I need some grammar in my life. And that, ladies and gents, is my long-winded way of getting into today’s topic: was and were.
The AP Stylebook doesn’t have an entry on was and were, which surprises me. It’s something I always have to think about when I’m writing or speaking. In fact, I didn’t have a good grasp on it until this semester.
Aside from using was for singular subjects and were for plural, were is the past subjunctive for the verb to be. Meaning you use were for hypothetical situations. I’m not tall, I can’t reach the coffee mugs on the top shelf, so I’d use were. As a general rule, were is always paired with if.
Think of it this way: Would you ever say “If I was you”? No. It sounds ridiculous. “If I were you” sounds much better and doesn’t make me cringe.
Side note: I miss Picnik. It takes me a zillion years longer to edit photos using Google+ than it did with Picnik.