I wish I was is incorrect

Eng.   Friday, September 17, 2004, 20:41 GMT
''I wish I were'' is correct.
Xatufan   Saturday, September 18, 2004, 01:21 GMT
Maybe, but "I wish I was" is very used.
Ailian   Saturday, September 18, 2004, 03:15 GMT
Actually, considering the amount of people who use "I wish I was", it is very correct and grammatical.

Now, according to *my* idiolect/dialect, it should be "I wish I were"; however, I have unfortunately resigned myself to the fact that the subjunctive is dying out in many dialects.
Mxsmanic   Saturday, September 18, 2004, 06:09 GMT
Strictly speaking, the subjunctive is required. Some people won't object to "I wish I was," but if you want to be correct in all cases, "I wish I were" is safer.
Random Chappie   Sunday, September 19, 2004, 06:59 GMT
Hello, Ailian! Where do you come from? What is your dialect? I've always been curious.
Ailian   Sunday, September 19, 2004, 09:07 GMT
Hello, Random Chappie!

I thought that I posted this some time ago? ;)

I'm a Louisiana Creole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creole) and was raised speaking English and French by my quite proper grandparents. However, other non-Creole Louisianians have agreed with me that they still use the subjunctive. Alas, if only our "brethren" to the north, east, and west of us could learn that, while some aspects of the Old World are best not saving, some of the old ways (and grammar) are best kept close to heart!
bonnie zell   Sunday, September 26, 2004, 19:28 GMT
the fact that half the population of this country sais 'innit' 'bo' and 'cuz' and that is how they are spelt (if only these people could hold a pen without poking it in someones eye). in my humble opinion the english language is not dying out as some would put it but more going through an envoltion and not nesecrly (dyslexic moment) a bad one because the english language has always been a melting pot of other languages so at the moment the youth are just...making some new ones?
Mxsmanic   Sunday, September 26, 2004, 20:25 GMT
Half the population is functionally illiterate in some areas. Since they don't write, their distortions of the language are not likely to be preserved, and since they rarely climb very high on the social ladder, their spoken distortions are unlikely to last as well.
D   Monday, September 27, 2004, 01:31 GMT
In American Engliush (at least) the subjunctive is essentially absent except
in a few certain phrases. You can just learn those phrases as if they were
idiomatic and forget that the subjunctive even exists. This is
very different from French or Latin. In particular, except for the verb
"to be" you will almost never run into the "subjunctive" in the U.S.
We almost always choose alternate phrasings.
hot karl   Monday, September 27, 2004, 04:00 GMT
hardly any american will think twice whichever way you say it. i myself (american), didn't learn this until learning german subjunctive when i started college. even nowadays that i know the difference, i probably say 'was' 90% of the time. it's the language of today. and in some instances, it has a different rhythem. "i wish i were dead" is slightly longer to more akward to spit out.

however, if i were learning english as a non-native, i would definitely use "were".
hot karl   Monday, September 27, 2004, 04:02 GMT

oops. need to sleep soon. :)
Mxsmanic   Monday, September 27, 2004, 04:55 GMT
It isn't that the subjunctive is dying out so much as that it doesn't differ significantly from the indicative. It is most obvious with the verb "be" because its conjugations are more distinctive for that irregular verb. People still routinely say "I prefer that he give me the book" (subjunctive) rather than "I prefer that he gives me the book" (indicative), however.
Mi5 Mick   Monday, September 27, 2004, 06:10 GMT
You'd be splitting hairs in finding any meaningful differences between "I wish I were" and "I wish I was"; and "I prefer that he give me the book" and "I prefer that he gives me the book", etc. among native speakers. While it might be important in formal writing, in conversation these things are ridiculously trivial.
D   Monday, September 27, 2004, 11:16 GMT
>It isn't that the subjunctive is dying out so much as that it doesn't differ >significantly from the indicative.

Apparently the consensus among linguists is that English doesn't
_have_ a subjunctive, because the linguists look for a consistent pattern
of inflected words. In English we only have a few, mostly stock, phrases
which take a different verb form than the usual one, and we don't have
any special inflection to mark them. Many English speakers call these
constructions "subjunctive," but that's only because they are making
comparisons to other languages. It is perfectly possible to
just treat these phrases in English as isolated constructions without
trying to claim that there is a subjunctive construction in English.
KKK   Monday, September 27, 2004, 13:44 GMT
"If I were" = "If I was"