Posted by R. Berg on September 27, 2003
In Reply to: Were he around today posted by Lotg on September 26, 2003
: Little grammar question. Somewhere down this tree of questions and answers, I read "Were Socrates around today, etc. etc.....".
: What's the grammatical rule here? It sounds OK to me, I've no doubt used it myself, and it's definitely commonly used, but reading it, it seems an unusual use of the word 'were'. In fact, it made me wonder why we don't say something like 'Had he been around today' for example.
: Is 'WERE he around today' correct and if so, how does this work?
It's correct. It's subjunctive. Shortened and inverted form of "If he were around today."