Lesson 50 was / were / had been in unreal conditionals

Choose the correct answers:

  1. If I __________ (was, were, had been) you, I would not plan to move to Florida.
  2. Sergey would also advise you to stay in Chicago if he _________ (was, were, had been) your brother.
  3. If Sergey and I __________ (was, were, had been) your neighbors last year, we would have helped you deal with the house issues.

Explain:

All these three sentences express unreal, imagined, or wishful scenarios.

present unreal situation: simple past tense verb in “if” clause

past unreal situation: past perfect tense verb in “if” clause

If the verb in the “if” clause is a “Be” verb, then “were” or “had been” is the choice, even when the subject is “I/he/she/it”. In conversations, it is common to hear people say “was” instead of “were”, but “were” should be used in formal situations.

“If I were you…” is a common and gentle way to give advice.

  • In Sentence #1, use simple past verb “were” in the present unreal situation because I am not you.
  • In Sentence #2, use simple past verb “were” in the present unreal situation because Sergey is not your brother.
  • In Sentence #3, use past perfect verb in the past unreal situation because Sergey and I were not your neighbors last year.

 

Review:

  1. I am taking a quiz now, but I would be happier if I __________ (was, were, had been) at the beach.
  2. If there __________ (was not, were not, had not been) so much noise outside the classroom at the moment, I would be able to focus on my quiz better.
  3. If I __________ (was, were, had been) free yesterday, I would have gone to the beach instead of preparing for the quiz.

 

 

Answers:

were; were; had been

were; were not; had been

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