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If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

In the overwhelming majority of non-formal cases, it won't be a big deal if you don't use were therein such construction, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable. But see the P.S. section below concerning the expression "if he were you".

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?

P.S. Quirk et al. remark that in the fixed phrase "If I were you" the form were is still considered normal (at least it was in 1985, when the book was printed), so I guess it's better to use were in this phrase. They also note that in the fixed phrase "as it were" the form were cannot be replaced by was.

So it appears there are bastions where were is holding fast, like formal/fixed/often used expressions and there are areas where you can give yourself more freedom.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, it won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable.

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?

P.S. Quirk et al. remark that in the fixed phrase "If I were you" the form were is still considered normal (at least it was in 1985, when the book was printed), so I guess it's better to use were in this phrase. They also note that in the fixed phrase "as it were" the form were cannot be replaced by was.

So it appears there are bastions where were is holding fast, like formal/fixed/often used expressions and there are areas where you can give yourself more freedom.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

In the overwhelming majority of non-formal cases, it won't be a big deal if you don't use were in such construction, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable. But see the P.S. section below concerning the expression "if he were you".

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?

P.S. Quirk et al. remark that in the fixed phrase "If I were you" the form were is still considered normal (at least it was in 1985, when the book was printed), so I guess it's better to use were in this phrase. They also note that in the fixed phrase "as it were" the form were cannot be replaced by was.

So it appears there are bastions where were is holding fast, like formal/fixed/often used expressions and there are areas where you can give yourself more freedom.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

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source | link

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

ItIn the overwhelming majority of cases, it won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable.

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?

P.S. Quirk et al. remark that in the fixed phrase "If I were you" the form were is still considered normal (at least it was in 1985, when the book was printed), so I guess it's better to use were in this phrase. They also note that in the fixed phrase "as it were" the form were cannot be replaced by was.

So it appears there are bastions where were is holding fast, like formal/fixed/often used expressions and there are areas where you can give yourself more freedom.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

It won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable.

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, it won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable.

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?

P.S. Quirk et al. remark that in the fixed phrase "If I were you" the form were is still considered normal (at least it was in 1985, when the book was printed), so I guess it's better to use were in this phrase. They also note that in the fixed phrase "as it were" the form were cannot be replaced by was.

So it appears there are bastions where were is holding fast, like formal/fixed/often used expressions and there are areas where you can give yourself more freedom.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

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If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". The wikipediaWikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

It won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable. 

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". The wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

It won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though.


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive".

If he were you...

Yes, in order to put a clause in the so-called subjunctive mood you theoretically should use were with third-person singular subjects like "he, she, it". Wikipedia calls such constructions past subjunctive:

The main use of the past subjunctive form is in counterfactual if-clauses:

If I were a badger, I would choose that color.
He would let us know if he were planning to arrive late.

Quirk et al. also conveniently call this construction were-subjunctive.

It won't be a big deal if you don't use were there, though. You can use was, it will be considered slightly less formal, but acceptable. 

According to Quirk et al.,

In nonformal styles, hypothetical past or indicative forms replace subjunctive were:
1. I wish she was not married
2. If only I was not so nervous
3. Suppose he was / is lost, what would you do?


Reference: Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Ch. 3.62, "The were-subjunctive", and Ch. 14.24, "The present and past subjunctive".

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