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Grammar Repair Shop: ‘Was’ or ‘Were’?

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Problem 1: Which is correct? "The boss, along with her assistant, (was, were) present at the meeting."

Answer: "was." Why: "Along with" functions as a preposition, and prepositions don't make a singular subject plural.

Other prepositions to be aware of: "as well as," "in addition to," and "together with." They don't make a singular subject plural, either.

Problem 2: Which is correct? "If I (was, were) in his shoes, I'd do things differently."

Answer: "were." Why: It describes what might be or should be, not what is.

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