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  1. #1
    Paul Cilwa
    Guest

    "Were" or "Was"?

    "That meant, if the code was running, it could be read; if it couldn’t be read, it couldn’t run."

    Should it be "was running" or "were running"?



  2. #2
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    I don't understand the sentence, or specifically, what "code" is - can you clarify?

  3. #3
    Paul Cilwa
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    That would be computer code. It's clear from the greater context:

    "Joshua wanted to reassure his fiancée. There was no such thing as a “trade secret” now that there was only one corporation and, therefore, no competition. The whole purpose of the Internet was supposed to be the free sharing of information and ideas, and modern computer code was inherently readable, unlike the old “machine code” of a century past. That meant, if the code was running, it could be read; if it couldn’t be read, it couldn’t run. There was no conceivable reason why computer code would be encrypted or hidden. To do so violated the very premise of the Web."

  4. #4
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    The sentence is in the subjunctive, so "were" is correct. Subjuctive is used for thinks like wishes and other statements contrary to fact. That's why it's "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner."

  5. #5
    Paul Cilwa
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    Thanks, Joe!

  6. #6
    Michelle Burtin
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    Paul

    I'm afraid I disagree with Joe. "If" in your sentence doesn't mean something which is unreal, which would then require the use of "were", but it could be replaced by "when" and should go with "was".
    Compare these two sentences:

    - In the past, boys and girls were separated in church. So that's what happened when a child came into the church: if it WAS a boy, he would go left, if it WAS a girl, he would go right.
    (Sorry, the example is a bit silly, but it's the only thing that came into my mind.)That's not something unreal and therefore doesn't require the use of the modal preterit "were".

    - If I WERE a man, I would grow a beard.
    This is unreal. I'm not a man, I'm a woman. So "were".

    Hope it helps.

    Michelle

  7. #7
    Paul Cilwa
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    It does help, thanks. I'll change it back!

    (And now I don't feel so bad about not being sure.)

  8. #8
    Kris Williams
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    Hey, Joe - do you really wanna be an Oscar Myer wiener?

    lol

    Kris

  9. #9
    Rozinante
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    Lose the commas. The code clause cannot stand alone.

  10. #10
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: "Were" or "Was"?

    I agree it should be "was" in that text.

    I'm not so sure about the commas, however. I would think the code clause put in that way would be. . . I don't know . . . descriptive (I'm sure that's not the proper grammatical term). In other words, without it the sentence is complete, i.e., "That meant it could be read." so "if the code was running" needs commas to set it off.

    NOw, if the sentence was worded differently as in: "It could be running if the code was read." then the comma would be inappropriate.

    I may be wrong, but I'll contest anyway. Someone correct me.

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