I wish I was/were?

Adriana   Sat Sep 23, 2006 9:33 pm GMT
Which of these two is correct?

''I'm not a cookie making type of girl. I wish I was.''
''I'm not a cookie making type of girl. I wish I were.''

Thanks a lot for your help.
Pos   Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:01 pm GMT
Either. You choose.
Robin   Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:47 pm GMT
Sometimes, what sounds best, is not always the most grammatical. I think the first expression, sounds much better.

It is playing with tense.

I wish I was: Wishing is something that you do about the future.

I wish I were: You wish you were something in the past.

<<<''I'm not a cookie making type of girl. I wish I was.'' >>>>
Guest   Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:50 pm GMT
According to prescriptive grammarians, "I wish I was." is not proper grammar. It has to be "I wish I were." However, "I wish I was." is used by many native speakers.
M56   Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:39 pm GMT
<I wish I were: You wish you were something in the past.>

Or present.

There's no Time involved there. The "were" helps express timeless hypotheticality.

Verbs don't only express time, you know?
Tiffany   Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:01 am GMT
Strictly speaking, the phrase "I wish" calls for the subjuctive. However, it is dying out in Britain, while it continues to be used in America at present. Thus:

BrE uses "I wish I was"
AmE uses "I wish I were"

Both are native usages. Prescriptivists will tell you only "I wish I were..." is correct.

Robin, it is not playing with tense and there is no time expressed in "was" vs "were" in the phrase "I wish I..." I've read a couple of your answers to questions like "some one" vs "someone" in which you said "some one" was used to emphasize "one". That is incorrect.

I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but perhaps you need to study the English language more, before giving advice. Learners can be easily deceived.
Tiffany   Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:03 am GMT
By the way, here is more information from wikipedia of the subjunctive. Take a look at the section entitled, "The subjunctive in English"

myself   Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:28 am GMT
What about this ?

Is it acceptable ?

''I'm not a cookie making type of girl. I wish to be one.''
''I was not a cookie making type of girl. I wish I had been one.''

Guest   Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:16 am GMT
Those are both correct.
myself   Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:33 am GMT
Thank you Guest

Tiffany   Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:21 pm GMT
It sounds really odd if you take out "of" after "type", Brennus.
Robin   Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:53 pm GMT
Dear Tiffany

I had a quick look at the Web Page, and I did not get very far with it. What I have noticed amongst Polish people in Aberdeen, is that if they don't quite understand something or something is not quite right, they move on. Live is too short, to go into to much detail.

I know I have been totally obsessed by the whole concept of the Twin Set. But usually, people have got better things to do.

Also, the first thing that Polish people who come to Aberdeen do when they try to speak English with the natives, is throw away the rule book. Unfortunately, the natives have not read it, and they speak a brand of English called 'Doric'.

Ok, at the University of Edinburgh, they probably do speak quite properly. But in Blue Collar jobs, the accents are much broader.

Below is a poem, in which the words are first in Scots, and then in English. The big problem for Scottish people is what is called Scots, varies from one part of Scotland to the next.

“it wis January / and a gey dreich day / the first day Ah went to the school” This poem in Scots and English by Liz Lochhead appears in the most recent collection of her poems: The Colour of Black & White: poems 1984-2003 (Polygon, 2003), and in The Smoky Smirr o Rain: a Scots Anthology (Itchy Coo, 2003).
Robin   Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:58 pm GMT
<<<Live is too short, to go into to much detail.>>>

Life is too short, to go into too much detail.

Is that right? I am not too sure!
Robin   Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:10 pm GMT
I know I am going off at a tangent. But here is some more English written in the Scots dialect.

I think you might find the Web Site interesting if this sort of thing interests you. It really makes the difference between 'was' and 'were' pale into insignificance.


Title: Review of "The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" (Liz Lochhead)
Author(s): Liz Niven
Copyright holder(s)
Liz Niven
"The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" by Liz Lochhead Pub. Birlinn £8.99 pp131

"The Colour of Black & White" is Liz Lochhead’s furst collection o poetrie in ower ten year. Yin o wir maist favourite dramatists, it’s a lang-awaitit delicht tae be able tae hiv sic a substantial nummer o new poems as weel as ithers kent fae afore.

As ayeweys, human relationships are fundamental tae the fabric o the poems which rynge fae luive an daith an childhood throu tae adult preoccupations sic as sex an mairriage. Again thir’s the mix o autobiographical an fictional, poems aboot her hame toon o Lanarkshire as weel as a wee sample o the poet’s fascination wi the Frankenstein theme in The Ballad o Mary Shelley’s Creature.

Tae pit the work o printmaker Willie Rodger’s intae the buik is a fine norrie, lendin as it does an addit attraction o visual elements tae counter, an complement, the wirds. It’s appropriate as weel tae hae anither artist in the focus here as Liz Lochhead frequentlie writes, refers tae, dedicates her work tae a wheen ither artists – poets as weel as visual artists.

Edwin Morgan features baith throu a visit tae his hame as weel as in a seventhieth birthday dedication which gey finely acknowledges Lochhead’s admiration for Morgan as a person an fir his work.It is fittin that he has written the introduction tae the buik.

A dedication to Lyn Hansen, references to much admired artist/scupl?or George Wylie, and direct conversations to poet-freens, Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay, gie us an impression o a poet givin generouslie o her affections tae her freens an fellow makers. The ‘Year 2K email epistle to Carol Ann Duffy, Sister-poet & Friend of my Youth’ is a lovely example o the relaxt, informal tone o some o the work. The gentle nod tae Burns in ‘If forward though we canna see/We guess and fear’ serves tae remind us o the continuitie throu the centuries fae afore Burns tae the present day, o hou wir Scots poets are of the people, an pairt o the people, no bein aff in an ivorie touer, inaccessible tae the general reader.

Monie o the poems are strang narratives an talk us throu the childhood an adolescent experiences o a fifties an sixties ethos. ‘Kidspoem/Bairnsang’ is weel kent and luived awreadie – maistlie by teachers in Scotlan – as a succinct appraisal o the wey wir weans are generallie strippt o much o the Scots vocabularie learnt in thir hame environment when they gan tae the scuil.

A wean disnae pu oan ‘pixies an pawkies’ onie mair, bit nou, she ‘pulled on my bobble-hat and mittens’. She disnae birl her scarf bit nou twirls it, an instead o the freenlie ‘kid-oan skelp oan the bum’ she gets a ‘pretend slap on the bottom’. This poet can mak her ain case fir native leids wi’oot needin a soap boax.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Tiffany   Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:48 pm GMT
You failed to identify the subjunctive tense, and then proceeeded to make up some outlandish "definitions" for "was" vs. "were" for a learner who was confused to begin with. I fail to see how this has anything to do with life being too short.

If you didn't understand it the first time: please refrain from answering questions you don't know the answers to. I understand that you want to help learners, and that is admirable, but when you answer a question you don't really know the answer, this will can confuse them more than they were to begin with.

Anyway, here is the correct phrase: "Life is too short to go into too much detail."

Also, I am not the moderator, but I think you should try sticking to the subject. What does that poem have to do with the learner's question? Start another thread if you'd like.