I need to check the grammaticality of the following sentence:

If I __ a doctor, I would serve the poor.
(a) am
(b) had been
(c) were
(d) was

I am confused with were and had been since there is would in the sentence, too.

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    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 16:43
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    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


I would say

If I am a doctor, I serve the poor.

(Present, does not know if he is a doctor)

If I had been a doctor, I would have served the poor.

(In past, implies he was not a doctor)

If I were a doctor, I would serve the poor.

(No specific time, implies he is not a doctor)

If I was a doctor, I served the poor.

(In past, does not know if he was a doctor)

  • Your last sentence sounds rather unusual to me.
    – user230
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:32
  • 1
    @snailboat The poor fellow has amnesia and has forgotten his calling; but he is confident that he was always as benevolent as he is today. It's not a situation that arises often, but if it happens to you you will now know how to express it :) Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 18:32

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