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Intern
Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
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Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 3

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A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

was not so painful, it

was not so painful, they

were not so painful, they

were not so painful, it

were not so painful, being one

The correct choice is D and the answer explanation says that adolescence is singular (so we use 'it'), but why do we use "were" instead of "was" if it's singular?? What is were referring to anyway?
Intern
Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 48
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Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 8

I think it has to do with the "if" before adolescence.

If adolescence were not so painful
Director
Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 775
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 32 [0], given: 99

sk88 wrote:
A recent and popular self-help book wryly notes that if adolescence was not so painful, it would have a droll comedic aspect, at least in retrospect.

was not so painful, it

was not so painful, they

were not so painful, they

were not so painful, it

were not so painful, being one

The correct choice is D and the answer explanation says that adolescence is singular (so we use 'it'), but why do we use "were" instead of "was" if it's singular?? What is were referring to anyway?

good question... I too went for A at first glance, but realized that option D is correct. the sentece is talking about past unreal condition. some thing like this ..

if she were studying, she would pass the exam ...
Manager
Joined: 08 Jun 2009
Posts: 71
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Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 2

I think it's one of the main structure of if clause that you use when talking about unreal past event and you expect it to turn out differently..

In such structure you will use "were" instead of "was" even for a singular/uncountable noun
Intern
Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 3

thanks everyone! I think they called it the "subjunctive" or something like that. But i makes sense to me now if you say "if she were.."
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