I recently finished reading Love Letters, a novel written by Debbie Macomber. Ms. Macomber is a popular, prolific writer who has sold about 170 million copies of her books worldwide.
Generally, I enjoy reading her contemporary relationship novels. However, I found this particular novel annoying. My annoyance had nothing to do with the story or with Ms. Macomber’s writing style.
Another library patron, a budding Grammar Nazi (BGN) who read the book before I did, apparently decided the novel needed further editing. Using a blue pen, she, because I’m pretty sure it was a she, crossed out all the were verbs that Ms. Macomber used correctly in the subjunctive mood and wrote was above them.
Most of the statements were of the if I were variety. Others were simply wishful thinking on the part of a character. As any sixth grader should know, subjunctive mood is used when making a statement about something that is contrary to fact. For example (no, not in the novel): If Spot were a dinosaur . . . or I wish Spot were a dinosaur. But Spot isn’t a dinosaur. She’s a monitor lizard.
After I finished reading the novel, I was left wondering where and when BGN learned English grammar.
I’m sure Debbie Macomber would have wondered, too.