I don’t imagine that I am alone when I watch CNN coverage of President Trump so there may be other viewers who, like me, are fussy about grammar and cringe or grimace with every error. Wolf Blitzer, who grew up in Buffalo New York, learned English in an American school. His grammar is American, so it isn’t entirely his fault that he is incapable of using verbs correctly.
“If the President was to fire Mueller,” and variations of it, like “if he was to fire him” grate on my nerves like squeaking chalk on a chalkboard. He isn’t the only ‘talking head’ on CNN who exhibits this grammatical error but he repeats it so often as if he has no idea how wrong it is.
“Was to be” is not a verb form in English and, if American English has succumbed to it, that version of English should be scrubbed clean with a newly assigned key on the keyboard. Wolf Blitzer should say, “if the President fired Mueller,” or “if he fired him.” He might also say, “should the President fire Mueller,” or “should he fire him.”
Mr. Blitzer repeats this error so often that it makes me nauseous, particularly today, because Trump ravings about firing Mueller, in an effort to end the (so called) Russia Investigation, dominated a fairly slow news day.
I plan to link this post to his name, in the chance that he searches his name (rarely, I am sure :)) and might read it. THERE ARE NO SUCH VERB FORMS AS ‘WERE TO BE,’ ‘IS TO BE,’ OR ‘ARE TO BE.’ Please, Mr. Blitzer, cut this line out of a printed copy and tape it near your monitor.
I know this is unlikely to reach you but, assuming that you read more than the President, (there’s a safe bet) there is a slim chance.
Professional. Retired. Canadian.