Had we but world enough, and time

Over at SPASTIC, the Society for the Preservation and Acknowledgement of Subjunctive Tense In Communication, there's a post that captures what annoys me about Gwen Stefani and Eve's "Rich Girl": they changed the nice subjunctive of "If I Were a Rich Man" to "If I was a rich girl". Does no one respect the subjunctive tense? It's my only peeve about Sophie B. Hawkins' "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover".

Of course, since Gwen Stefani is rich, perhaps she's just going with the rule that the subjunctive expresses improbable or hypothetical occurrences and the indicative expresses probable ones...

Marvell, "To his Coy Mistress": "Had we but world enough, and time..."

The Oscar Meyer song (well, the other one, not the one about baloney having a first name): "if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener / Ev'ryone would be in love with me"


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