April 18, 2015

Homework Help: Languate...Grammar

Posted by John on Thursday, July 5, 2007 at 12:13am.

1. I wish he were a bird.
2. I wish he was a bird.
3. I wish I were a doctor.

I think #1 is correct. What about #2? Is it OK? And what about #3?

Numbers 1 and 3 are correct; 2 is incorrect.

Read about the use of subjunctive mood in English:


John, English has a subjunctive tense for three situations: a doubt, a wish, and a formal declaration such as making a motion in a meeting. I wish I were a bullfrog; if he were a prince, I wouldn't marry him; and I make a motion that the meeting "be" adjourned.

In specific answer to your question: I wish he were a bird would be correct--not I wish he was a bird.

1 and 3 are incorrect because the word were does not come with the third person singular.2 is correct

Norman, in the subjunctive ( a wish or something that is contrary to fact) "were" is correct. eg. "If I were a rich man". I am neither rich nor a man, so that is contrary to fact. Writeacher's corrections are "correct" <G>


I'm sorry, but your answer is exactly backward! 1 and 3 are correct; 2 is not.

Please read over the link above that explains about subjunctive mood.


Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Unfortunately the subjunctive appears to be "dying" amont the general public! This is another reason to study a foreign language (Spanish and/or French) to truly understand that the subjunctive IS alive and well! The problem is that when so many people use English grammar incorrectly, it begins to be widespread, even appearing in newspaper print!

I agree with SraJMcGin. Incorrect English grammar is all over the place, including newspapers, television, blogs, you name it!

News and weather people can't even speak in complete sentences!


Thank you for your help.

Language... Grammar

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