They remained the same unless it were that they aged somewhat in looks

Is it subjuctive for indicating an unreal or unlikely situation? Is this can be put like this?

They remained the same unless they had aged somewhat in looks

  • There, the subjunctive could be paraphrased, "though I suppose one could say that ... " – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 7 '17 at 11:12
  • "except that they had aged" or "One could identify no change, unless it were that..." Or similar in order to establish an antecedent for "it". Also, I would say that "aged in looks" is non-idiomatic. – Luke Sawczak Oct 7 '17 at 12:26

The past subjunctive is only used in conditional statements that are counterfactual; what you have written above doesn't appear to be conditional.

"They remained the same unless it [was] that they aged somewhat in looks."

There's no subjunctive there because you're talking about something that actually happened in the past. In fact, I can't figure out a way to make that statement subjunctive in English and I'm a native speaker. For instance:

"I would not do anything of the sort unless I were specifically ordered to do so by a superior."

There's an example of the past subjunctive using the subordinating conjunction "unless".

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