Greetings little darlings!
Today we are going to talk about the subjunctive mood. Sometimes, it seems as if the only people who care about its correct usage besides myself, are Queen Elizabeth II, Katie Couric, and Ted Mosby. And while I very much appreciate their commitment to speaking English properly, it is time for the rest of you to follow suit.
Most people, when wishing for something or speaking in the hypothetical, express it the following way: “I wish I was rich”. Or they’ll share messages such as the ubiquitous meme that popped up all over social media last year, making me close my eyes and take a deep breath to prevent my blood pressure from rising to alarming levels: “If traveling was free, you’d never see me again”.
WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR…
Here’s the deal, my delightful pupils: “Was” is indeed the past tense of the verb “to be,” so I can see where the confusion comes from. After all, you would say: “Sorry I was late,” or “I was traveling last month.” That’s fabulous. You are correct when you speak that way.
However, when you are referring to wishful thinking or a hypothetical scenario, the correct way of making such expressions is: “I wish I were rich,” or “If traveling were free, you’d never see me again.” The same applies to doubtful statements: “If that were true…” since such proclamation is also hypothetical. This is called the subjunctive mood. And it is such an easy rule to remember, you no longer have an excuse for making the above referenced mistake.
Alright, my little darlings. I hope this clears things up for you. And if you are one of my Facebook friends, I hope to start seeing you express yourself correctly when posting a status in the subjunctive. If there is one thing that makes a person stand out from a crowd, it’s sounding well-read and educated. I’m sure you’d love to be regarded as such.
Thank you all very much for your attention. I’m off to watch Scandal on Netflix now.
Adieu! Until next time…
The Fairy Godwriter