Conditional sentence

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Have any ideas on getting this across, correctly?

Thanks Brian

See example:

When David finally decided to leave the NBA and open up a local therapy office, it almost felt as if she was (were is used with plural subjects; she is a singular. She/He/I…was. You/they were) living with a stranger.
asked Jul 05 '12 at 16:51 Brian cline New member

2 answers


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David is a strange name for a girl!  Are you trying to teach students?  If so I would write the paragraph out twice such as

 

If the subject of the sentence is singular and either first person (I) or third person (he, she or it -  and we are writing in the past tense then the verb (be) form is WAS:

 

When David finally decided to leave the NBA and open up a local therapy office, it almost felt as if he was living with a stranger.

(Note depending on context if you are trying to express that being around people with mental issues all day long in the therapy office made him feel like he was around people who felt like strangers to him then you might amend 'a stranger' to 'strangers'.)

 

If the subject of the sentence is plural (we, they) or second person (you) and we are writing in the past tense then the verb (be) form is WERE

 

When they finally decided to leave the NBA and open up a local therapy office, it almost felt as if they were living with a stranger.

 

I hope it helps

link comment answered Jul 06 '12 at 01:38 Ian Rance New member
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Were is used as a subjunctive verb to express conditions that are contrary to fact.  In these situations, it is always were for first, second, and third persons (plural and singular).

     If I were you. . .

     If he were my kid. . .

Conditionals have been discussed on this forum.  The most recent discussion (http://answers.grammarly.com/questions/6440-if-pronouns-verb-to-be/) gives an explanation of the different types of conditional and the use of "was" and "were" in the subjunctive.  You can view more discussions by using the search tool above your question.

 

I would use were in your sentence.  I won't argue the use of was, but were seems more poetic.

 

I had thought that therapy office meant sports therapy (because of NBA) but Ian thought mental health.  You don't want your readers to assume what your meaning is.  This is why context matters (thanks Jeff).  My advice is to define what type of therapy office David opened, or name what profession David chose after leaving the NBA.

     After David finally decided to leave the NBA and became a physical therapist. . .

     After David left the NBA and became a psychologist. . .

 

David is an odd name for a woman!  But I don't think that is what you mean.  You don't need it either.

     . . . his wife (girlfriend, sister, roommate) felt as if she were living with a stranger.

link comment answered Jul 06 '12 at 04:37 Jody M. Expert

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