If I Was a Rich Man . . .

Notice anything incorrect about the title of this post?

If so, you’re probably wondering why our discussion of verbs did not cover the subjunctive mood. My answer is that, for the purposes of this class, we won’t be discussing the subtleties associated with the different verb moods. That said, you will want to know the error in the title of this post, if only to polish the cuff links in your grammatical tuxedo.

This week’s New York Times grammar blog, After Deadline, includes an example of the subjunctive:

If Europe was as anticapitalist as Americans assume, its companies would be collapsing. But there are 172 European corporations among the Fortune Global 500, compared with just 133 from the United States.

This is a “contrary to fact” condition and so a classic instance calling for the much-neglected subjunctive: “If Europe were as anticapitalist …”

See how it works? If not yet, check out the discussion of the subjunctive mood in Daily Writing Tips.

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