Difference between if I was and if I were

I was or I were

I was

PAST

We use “I was” or “If I was” when we talk about real things that actually happened in the past.

The conjugation for the verb be in the past form is

Iwas
Youwere
He/ She/ Itwas
Wewere
Theywere
Simple past verb be

Examples:

  1. When I was 10 years old, I used to play soccer every day.
  2. I was really happy to hear that you passed your test yesterday.
  3. My high school teachers would give me extra homework if I was late for class.
  4. I apologize if I was rude. I didn’t mean it.
  5. I’m very sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

I were

HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS & WISHES

We use the phrase “If I were” when we want to talk about unreal or hypothetical situations (second conditional). We also use it when we are wishing for something. It’s called the subjunctive mood.

The conjugation of verb be in the subjunctive mood is

Iwere
Youwere
He/ She/ Itwere
Wewere
Theywere
Subjunctive verb be
Second conditional
  1. If I were rich, I would buy a house in Dubai.
  2. If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.
  3. I wouldn’t work every day if I weren’t a police officer.
  4. I would be more active if I were younger.
  5. If he were taller, he could play basketball.

NOTE: with he, she and it we can use was (instead of were) in informal speaking. Example: If she was here, she’d know what to do

Wish
  1. I wish I were able to run 20 km
  2. I wish I were a doctor.
  3. I wish I were 20 years old again.
  4. She wishes she were a top model.
  5. He wishes he were richer.

Video in Spanish

Video in English

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