Monday, August 01, 2005

The Extinction of Were

I have trouble listening to bad grammar. While I try my best not to correct other people, surely I can protest when I start using the wrong word. In this case, I'm surrounded. To illustrate, if I was in Texas, it would take me about 2 hours to acclimate and start saying "y'all". I'd try to fight it, just like I try to fight the inappropriate use of was. But I pick up other people's mannerisms, accents and expressions with ease - it's really sad. The word? Was. "Was" is a fine word when used correctly, but around here people use it in place of "were".

Was you going to go out today?
Wasn't you there yesterday?

Is this the Oregonian equivalent of y'all?

I certainly hope not!

Now, as far as I can tell, you should generally use "were" when you are speaking in the past tense, and then only when you are referring to more than one person (Jane and Michael were trying to cross the border with my chihuahuas!), or when you are asking someone about themselves. (Were you able to find your chihuahuas? Were they dehydrated?)

Now, I know that my own grammar is sometimes lacking (though I try), but I have to draw the line somewhere! Are you with me on this? Let's try to stamp out the misuse of was!