Tag: grammar

Nablopomo Day 29: Crazycakes

What i wrote today, to my coworkers, who hopefully understand that i am just occasionally flat-out crazycakes and strange and weirdly nitpicky:

Random for the day, and very, very few people know this; Over and under really should apply to spatial reasoning only – numbers don’t have real “height,” they have value instead. 61 is not over 30, for example, because they don’t actually exist in any realm of space.

And this is so random but yeah, it’s something that only sticklers pick up on. And we don’t absolutely have to change it from the colloquial use, but … I’m randomly crazy about it.

Same reasoning that numbers don’t actually “rise” or “fall,” they increase or decrease.

Thus endeth my crazycakes commentary for the day.

just wrote this to a colleague

She wrote:

Would it be “If only college was this hard” or “If only college were this hard.”

OK, this is hard. I BELIEVE it’s “were,” considering you’re speaking in what’s called a ‘past subjunctive mood,’ (past tense possibility, basically). In past subjunctive, singular nouns use a past plural verb (past plural of “to be” is were)


Was: past  “College was hard.”

Were: past plural. “Colleges were hard.”



“ It is called the past subjunctive when referring counterfactually to the present, and is called the pluperfect subjunctive when referring counterfactually to the past. It occurs in that clauses following the main-clause verb “wish” (“I wish that she were here now”; I wish that she had been here yesterday”) and in if clauses expressing a condition that does not or did not hold (“If she were here right now, …”; “If she had been here yesterday, …”).

Um, was I right on this?