Getting Started

Getting started improving or learning English is a lot like getting started using WordPress.

There are many unknowns, and going public with a blog is like using English in conversation. There are so many people out there who are better than I (or should that be better than me?).

This is my first post, I feel green and embarrassed. I wish I’d started sooner and were already an expert blogger.

By the way, did you notice I used Were in that last sentence, not Was.

Why?

If you look around grammar books you’ll find a name for it. The basic rule is this: When you use an If statement – for something conditional – use Were rather than Was with the first person (I).

Here are some examples:

“If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, Would you marry me anyway? Would you have my baby?” – first lines of a song by Tim Hardin, sung by Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, and Emmy-Lou Harris.

“I wish I were going to the movies with you tonight, but instead I’m going to the office to work.” – my sob story, just thinking out loud!

Here’s a discussion of the subject if you’d like to know more:
http://www.englishforums.com/English/IWishIWasWereThere/bzvrw/post.htm

A lot of people either don’t know the rule, or don’t think it’s important!

The general opinion is: Were is correct, but Was is so often used it’s become accepted.

Usage has become the most common guide to what’s right and wrong in English. So, for example, modern dictionaries are not compendia of correct words and meanings, but of words as they are commonly used.

English is a complex language. That makes it hard to learn, and also makes it interesting. With any language, there’s always more to discover.

For me, after 30 years as a writer and teacher, using English in new ways is one of the joys of my life. If some of my enjoyment can rub off on you, so that you enjoy learning and using English, this little website will have achieved the objective for which I created it.

Well, I’ve done my first post. I wish I WERE a lot better at formatting in WordPress. If I WERE to give you an exit line it would look like this:

I hope you enjoy learning English.

Feel free to ask questions and share your discoveries with me, and with my friends and students, by leaving a comment or sending a message!

Teacher Stephen
That’s what the boys call me in class. I wonder what they call me in the playground?

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