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Passions in Poetry

"It were"

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Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
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0 posted 02-20-2003 01:53 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Does anyone know what makes it correct to use phrases like "It were better" "it were enough"
I've never completly been able to understand the grammatical "rule" to it.
If you could help that would be excellent.
Thanks.

jbouder
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since 09-18-99
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


1 posted 03-05-2003 11:12 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

I suppose the answer to your question is, "It depends where you live."

Take a look at this:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=were&db=*

quote:
were (wūr)

v.
1. Second person singular and plural and first and third person plural past indicative of be.
2. Past subjunctive of be. See Usage Note at if. See Usage Note at wish.

[Middle English were, weren, from Old English wre, wren, wron. See wes-1 in Indo-European Roots.]

Our Living Language: Although many irregular verbs in English once had different singular and plural forms in the past tense, only one still does todaybe, which uses the form was with singular subjects and the form were with plural subjects, as well as with singular you. The relative simplicity in the forms of most verbs reflects the long-standing tendency of English speakers to make irregular verbs more regular by reducing the number of forms used with different persons, numbers, and tenses. Since past be is so irregular, speakers of different vernacular dialects have regularized it in several ways. In the United States, most vernacular speakers regularize past be by using was with all subjects, whether singular or plural. This pattern is most common in Southern-based dialects, particularly African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Some speakers use were with both singular and plural subjects; thus, one may hear she were alongside we were. However, this usage has been much less widespread than the use of was with plural subjects and appears to be fading. · In some scattered regions in the South, particularly in coastal areas of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, vernacular speakers may regularize past be as was in positive contexts and regularize it as weren't in negative contexts, as in He was a good man, weren't he? or They sure was nice people, weren't they? At first glance, the was/weren't pattern appears to come from England, where it is fairly commonplace. However, in-depth study of the was/weren't pattern in coastal North Carolina indicates that it may have developed independently, for it is found to a greater extent in the speech of younger speakers than in that of older coastal residents. ·Other forms of negative past be include warn't, common in American folk speech in the 18th and 19th centuries, and wont, as in It wont me or They wont home. Wont, which often sounds just like the contraction won't, historically has been concentrated in New England and is also found in scattered areas of the South.

Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


2 posted 03-05-2003 07:08 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That makes sense; but look at Desdemona's usage of "it were" in Othello when  looking for the handkerchief:

Desdemona:
Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse  
Full of cruzadoes; and, but my noble Moor  
Is true of mind, and made of no such baseness  
As jealous creatures are, it were enough  
To put him to ill thinking.


Does it mean "it would have been?"
Marshalzu
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since 02-15-2001
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3 posted 03-06-2003 03:25 AM       View Profile for Marshalzu   Email Marshalzu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marshalzu's Home Page   View IP for Marshalzu

Sounds to me that it is more likekly to mean that "it was enough".
Kielo
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since 02-11-2002
Posts 1259


4 posted 03-06-2003 09:11 PM       View Profile for Kielo   Email Kielo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kielo

I was thinking "it would be" or "it would have been." *shrug* I don't know, though.
 
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