If A is B, C is D

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I saw this sentence in a song,

 

"If life is a road, and then she is my ride.", but I have learned that"If life were a road, and then she would be my ride." is grammatically more correct or the structure of the first sentence is okay to use in daily conversations?

 

Thank you so much as usual and have a good day.

edited Sep 29 '12 at 10:23 Hans Contributor

This is a matter of casual, informal vernacular (the song) as opposed to correct, formal English (your correction). One hears the former in casual conversation all the time among native speakers. In song lyrics, the lyricist is trying to manipulate tone, voice, grammar, syllabic count, rhyme, and diction for a particular effect; so be cautious in using songs as a guide for English grammar rules. :-)

d.s.koellingSep 29 '12 at 18:24

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2 answers


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Also, you should be careful when quoting not to add words that are not in the original.

 

"If life is a road, then she is my ride."

link comment answered Sep 29 '12 at 14:38 Peter Guess Expert
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In type II conditional sentence, which is an imaginary sentence, were can be used according to some books.

If life were a road ....

link answered Sep 29 '12 at 15:28 Z. A. Jazley Expert

Yes, "were" can be used in a Type II conditional. But "life" is singular and "were" is a plural verb. He was, they were. Afterall, you don't say"life are," you say "life is." So no, you cannot say "If life were a road ..."

Jeff PribylSep 29 '12 at 15:47

Isn't this the present subjunctive?"If I were a rich man, . . .""If I were you, . . .""If life were a road, . . ."

Peter GuessSep 29 '12 at 18:15

Yes, but I've stayed away from describing this usage for two reasons. (1) It is likely to confuse new ESL students such as HsKyH7, and (2) when used in if clauses, the present subjunctive tends to sound old-fashioned or unnecessarily formal -- that is the sense that Sheldon Harnick was trying to achieve with his lyrics. "If I were you..." might be considered a fixed expression.

Jeff PribylSep 30 '12 at 01:32

It is certainly true that tenses can be confusing for ESL learners, especially if they have far fewer in there own language. Here in Poland, for instance, the native language has only three. Students start learning about tenses almost immediately (age 7) and the subjunctive is introduced at age 12 or13.

I agree that "If I were you, . . ." could be considered a fixed expression and its users (most native English speakers) may or not be aware of why it is correct. It might be considered "formal" in the sense of "correct", but certainly not old-fashioned enough not to be required for academic writing.

Sandy81Sep 30 '12 at 14:08

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