I am not sure whether this sentence is correct:

Since you was not online today, I assume you were not able to make it on time.

In the first half of the sentence, I would replace "was" for "were". However, I have the certainty he did not come online today, so I am not sure whether I should use "was" or "were".

Can you please help me?

  • 1
    "Was" is never appropriate with second person subjects...
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


In Standard English, were is the only form used with you. "You was" is ungrammatical in Standard English.

You must be confused because you must have seen both "I was" and "I were". Now that is a separate story, which has to do with the so called irrealis.

If I/he were a bird, I/he'd fly all day. //irrealis

I/he was a very noisy child when I/he was young. //indicative mood.

However, with we/you/they, "were" is used in both cases

If you were a bird, you'd fly all day.

You were a very noisy child when you were young.

Do note that in certain non-standard dialects, notably the African American Vernacular English, "you was" is possible

Yo, what's poppin'? Tell me why you was so angry with me yesterday.

  • Thank you very much, incredibly fast and detailed reply.
    – Lord Snow
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:43
  • As you mentioned, I was confused as I was trying to apply the rules for the first person of the singular to the second person of the singular.
    – Lord Snow
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:52

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