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If I were an MLA, I would have helped people yesterday
If I were an MLA, I would help people tomorrow

If I was an MLA, I would have helped people yesterday
If I was an MLA, I would help people tomorrow

Are they grammatically correct? Someone says If-something-was and Perfect tense' (would+verb third form) aren't acceptable in condition sentence to use along with one another. They say If we use them with perfect one, then it will be correct. For example: If I had been an MLA, I would have helped people. If I were/was an MLA, I would help people Are they right that that's incorrect to use so? I'm oblivious to the examples because I haven't influential skills on grammar; I wrote them on my own. Sorry If I made any errors there

  • Are you assuming that "were" in the conditional clause refers to past time? – BillJ Nov 26 '16 at 16:14
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    See here. – userr2684291 Nov 26 '16 at 16:24
  • If I were an MBA is not subjunctive. There is no past subjunctive in English. The only subjunctive form of "be " is "be", as in I demand that it be done. All your examples seem fine to me. The only tensed verb in all of them is the modal "would", the preterite form of "will". – BillJ Nov 26 '16 at 17:13
  • @BillJ But by some grammar books "If I were" is subjunctive that expresses possibility. eg. I would help children tomorrow if I were an MBA ( I'm not an MBA, and therefore I won't help them tomorrow ). Am I right? – Arman Nov 26 '16 at 17:43
  • Yes, it's true that traditional grammar does call the "were" in If I were the past subjunctive, contrasting with the 'present subjunctive'. But there are no grounds for analysing this were as a past tense counterpart of the be found in constructions like It's vital that he be kind to her. Modern grammar does not use 'subjunctive' as a term for an inflectional category, but for a syntactic construction employing the plain (infinitive) form of the verb. – BillJ Nov 26 '16 at 20:16
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"Were" is US usage, "was" is Commonwealth.

If I were an MLA, I would have helped people yesterday

Doesn't work because "were" is talking about today. It would have to be "if I had been an MLA, I would have...."

If I were an MLA, I would help people tomorrow

Okay, albeit odd-sounding, perhaps because of the specificity. Less-odd would be "if I were an MLA, I'd actively help people" [no time specified, indefinite future implied]

If I was an MLA, I would have helped people yesterday

Same problem as with "were", but Commonwealth. "If I had been...."

If I was an MLA, I would help people tomorrow

Same response as with "were": is okay, sounds odd.

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    -1 for the initial assertion. This use of the subjunctive is declining among all Anglophones. It just so happens the decline is faster / more advanced in BrE. But given Indian English in particular has a tendency to preserve many "Victorian" usages long after they've been discarded by mainstream Anglophones, I see no reason to suppose [ex?] Commonwealth countries would mimic the rate of linguistic change in the UK. – FumbleFingers Nov 26 '16 at 17:59
  • I can't stop you down-ticking my categorisation, but "declining" is not "defunct". – MMacD Nov 26 '16 at 18:16
  • I never said it was. I'm simply saying that (particularly in conversational contexts) the fact of a decline is more significant than a relatively small difference in the current AmE/BrE positions on that path. – FumbleFingers Nov 26 '16 at 18:48
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Compare to "If I were a rich man ... I would." This IS subjunctive and it applies to wishes and theoretical situation. ("If I Were a Rich Man" is a popular song from the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof. It was written by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. The song is performed by Tevye, the main character in the musical, and reflects his dreams of glory.)

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