Wich is correct: 'If I was you' or 'If I were you' ?

Phil   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 01:27 GMT
I think the second one is correct but I have heard people using the first one.
Steve   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 01:29 GMT
The second one is correct.
Linda   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 01:40 GMT
The scond
Dulcinea del Toboso   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 02:11 GMT
The second is correct. It is the subjunctive mood.

Also, people should say "if it were..." not "if it was..."
Steve   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 03:26 GMT
Also ''wich'' should be ''which''.
Adam   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 23:07 GMT
Both of them are correct.
Damian   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 23:57 GMT
Both are acceptable
Steve   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 01:41 GMT
''If I were you'' is correct and ''If I was you'' is incorrect if you were talking about that. If you were talking about ''which'' and ''wich''. ''Which'' is correct and ''wich'' is incorrect.
Yer   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 06:02 GMT
To Damian and Adam,

No, "if I was you" is most definitely NOT acceptable from a strictly grammatical point of view. It may be commonly used in colloquial English but in written English, it is a mark of poor grammar.

On the American SATII Writing test (which will become part of the SAT I next year), "if I was you" would cost you dear points! The College Entrance Exam Board is extremely picky about this particular grammatical concept.
Paul   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 06:34 GMT
The subjunctive is rarely used in American English and is almost never used in British English. We use subjunctives mainly when talking about events that are hypothetical or that we are not certain will happen.

For example, we use the subjunctive when talking about events that somebody wants or hopes will happen.
We also use the subjunctive in certain conditional sentences where we imagine or expect something has happened.

The subjunctive is a special, relatively rare verb form in English.
The structure of the subjunctive is extremely simple. For all verbs except the past tense of to be, the subjunctive is the same as the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to"). The subjunctive does not change according to person (I, you, he etc).

You will see that the subjunctive form "were" is often used instead of "was" after:

as if
I wish that
I suppose that

Anyway, It is extremely tricky to use and not consistently applicable for all verbs. If you have not heard it before, I would follow the British custom of using should+infinitive of verb instead. That is quite acceptable in American English.
mjd   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 06:47 GMT

I don't understand what you mean when you say: "The subjunctive is rarely used in American English and is almost never used in British English."

Let me give you some example sentences: "If I were in that class, I'd have no time to go out." "If John were here, he'd be so miserable." "If I were rich, I'd buy a huge mansion." "If I were to take that job, I don't think I'd be able to do my volunteer work anymore."

....we say subjunctive stuff like this all the time, so I was a bit confused when I read what you wrote about it rarely being used in English.

(Some people use "was" in place of "were" in informal conversations, but it sounds a bit uneducated).
Hythloday   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 15:26 GMT
Surely it is better to ask which one is more appropriate rather than more correct. "If I was you..." is non-standard English and would therefore be considered more appropriate in informal contexts, whereas "If I were you..." is standard English and would therefore be considered more appropriate in formal contexts. Neither is more correct.
Yer   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 21:33 GMT
Yes, and most importantly, if you're taking any English Writing or Grammar standardised tests in the United States, you've GOT to know the subjunctive!!! Personally, I wouldn't want to get a rotten score on the SATs and land myself in some crappy community college with all those people who don't know anything about English grammar yet call themselves "native speakers".

And Hytholoday, "if I were you" is DEFINITELY more correct. As I mentioned, "if I was you" would be WRONG on tests!

Finally, people in America, at least those who actually know their language, do indeed use the subjunctive in everyday conversation without realizing it. No, I'm not talking about urban ghettoboys or country bumpkins. I'm referring to people in city outskirts, suburbs, and small towns, where most Americans live, after all.
Hythloday   Sunday, May 30, 2004, 21:56 GMT
Yer, you are incorrect. 'If I were you' may be more appropriate in US SATs tests, but 'If I was you' is more appropriate in most informal contexts in the UK. Neither is more correct, they are just more appropriate in certain contexts. Prescriptivism is on the way out, man - get with the programme!
Jacob   Tuesday, June 01, 2004, 14:09 GMT

Which is more appropriate: "Beating a dead horse", or "Flogging a dead horse"?