Wednesday, June 29, 2005

subjunctive question

Which of the following is more accurate?

A) It didn't seem as though that were still the case.
B) It didn't seem as though that was still the case.

It seems to me that "as though" indicates condition contrary to fact, which wants the subjunctive, which would be "were." But it looks a little odd to me. Both look a little odd to me.

Fellow grammar guardians, what is the mind of the house on this?

13 comments:

Beth said...

This is broken? It doesn't look broken.

Risa said...

Subjunctive. Although most native English speakers rarely use the proper tense in spoken English, which is probably why it sounds funny on the ear.

I agree - "as though" definitely wants the subjunctive.

Risa said...

That is to say, most native AMERICAN English speakers. I can't speak for the Brits. :)

Raisin said...

I vote for Option A. Option B sounds funny!

Beth said...

Micah concurs, though he falsely believes my comments to be broken and had to email me instead.

It's settled then - the subjunctive stays.

Ryan said...

definitly a

Tripp Hudgins said...

Subjunctive, indeed.

Were.

Loverly use of a dying gramatical detail.

Dawgdays said...

Actually, if you use an aggregator to get to an individual post, there's no way to comment. There's a tag missing from your profile. I'm pretty sure I know where it goes, so if you want to email me your profile again, I'll take a look.

Hope said...

Yep, although late, I agree. it should be "were," then again, with all the Spanish in my head right now, I wouldn't entirely trust my opinion of English grammar.

Debra said...

Simply to be contrary (and to evade the actual question):

If the phrase in question causes readers difficulty, perhaps an alternative means of expressing oneself is in order.

Beth said...

woohoo! evading the question! that's the perfect response for a cpe assignment

Davies said...

This sounds a bit like Prarie Home Companion from this evening (7/02/2005). Garrison K. said that the best way to celebrate Independence Day was (or is that were) to use the English language badly. A way, he suggests, of continuing to thumb our noses at them Brits.
I'm on call at the hospital this evening, so this whole dialogue has been a nice distraction. tx.

Lisa said...

Of course it's subjunctive and thus requires "were." But here's an interesting aside. I recently heard (on NPR, I believe) that only 3% of the U.S. population uses the subjunctive correctly. So give yourself a pat on the back for even thinking to use it!