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May 18, 2007

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Now that you've introduced me to Fun with Words, I'll never get any work done! :)

I didn't think it could happen, but --
"If I was born on May 18..."? You must be on vacation to miss the correct usage of the subjunctive mood.

Evvance--As Roy Jacobsen points out much more eloquently than I could, the subjunctive has been on its deathbed for at least 150 years. Or longer: "[W]e have evidence that was often took the place of were in 'I wish' phrases going back to the 16th century (and probably earlier)." I considered writing "If I were born..." but it sounded unecessarily stuffy, so I didn't. (And no, I'm not on vacation. Alas.)

(Jacobsen's post is at http://rmjacobsen.squarespace.com/articles/2006/9/13/the-persistence-of-the-subjunctive.html.)

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