Tag Archives: Alcia Morgan

“IF I WAS YOU… OR “IF I WERE YOU…”: AN EXTRACT FROM A FACEBOOK LITERARY CLASS

19 Aug

That’s the powerful woman standing right there…the lone rose among the thorns

After a heated debate with a colleague about the correct grammatical form of a statement, I took to social media to consult an exceptional education administrator, editor extra-ordinaire, prolific writer, communication and linguistic specialist. I quickly made this post and tagged her in it:

“I need to consult my editor extra-ordinaire, linguistic and communication specialist Alcia Morgan on this one…which is correct:
“If I were you…? or “If I was you…?”
Talk to me please so I can stand corrected and go apologize or say “I knew it”

She did not respond right away . All this time my mind was commenting and chastising itself in a most realistic way. It had conversations like: “Really Alcia, is where you hiding tonight?” Or, “Come man Alcia, I need my confirmation.” The logical mind didn’t miss a beat as it chastised the impatient me “Calm down. The woman have a life” or “She will respond in her own time. Go and find something to do”. I found myself laughing out loud at this internal dialogue. Talk about getting mad. Ah boy. Anyway, back to the story.

Despite my gross impatience, I was not concerned whether she would respond or not, because she just simply cannot resist the urge to share her expertise. It’s an impossible task for her. The wait for me was forever because I was twitching to get her response. However, I was not prepared for the detailed, informative, and profound elucidated response I got. Here it is:

Dorraine Reid, only you could draw me out of hibernation like this. Technically, both are correct from a descriptive linguistic perspective as both express a conditionality; You will never hear a prescriptive grammarian using “if I was’ though. Bear in mind that the prescriptivist (the ones who write the grammar books) SAYS what is correct; the descriptivist express what actually happens. The former “if I were you” expresses a situation that is possible but not real; a hypothetical situation that is contrary to the real situation and thus the use of the subjunctive. “If I was” on the other hand, is indicative and can be replaced with “whenever”. To conclude, the phrase, “if i were you” is the correct use from the “standard” English perspective. In essence, “If I were you, I’d apologize if i have to”.

This response had many facebook-ers quickly clicking away on the like button and sparked a vibrant conversation. It felt good to have been a part of it. As the discussion progressed, it further reinforced the notion that, social media is what we make it. This Educator extra-ordinaire who wears so many hats, uses her facebook page to inspire, motivate, encourage, teach. As we lamented about her brilliance, and I expressed a desire for more persons to read her response to the question, she responded with this:

Seems my page draws a lot of attention….both for those who visit it to see what literary work I’m up to, those who want a motivational moment, to have a laugh or to learn ” the word of the day” and those who just want “grist for their mills”

This is such a factual statement because I am one of them. I live for her facebook posts (and I’m sure I’m not alone) because each one I consume, I walk away with another word added to my vocabulary. It is indeed a literary class on her facebook page.

If I were you, I would get to know her…visit her page or ask Mr Google.

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