There seems to be some confusion on whether its “I wish I was” or “I wish I were”. Personally, I don’t understand the fact that there is confusion, but that’s probably just me. There are a large number of grammar nuts out there who stand by the claim that language and grammar rules are written in stone. I do not belong to this group. I feel that we should allow our language to evolve, and that for purposes of artistic expression should allow for a rather wide berth.
I often use the form “I wish I was…”, but I do not use it thinking it is correct. I use it to intentionally make my language sound more run of the mill and relaxed, or to comically emphasize what I am saying. Taking an example I would be more inclined to say, “I wish I was dead!” getting up post night-out. On a similar note “I wish I was the King…” is one of my more common Monday morning musings. However, I do not use “I wish I was” to replace the subjunctive form and I would very seldom use it if I were writing anything longer than a text message (notice use of subjunctive here and not “if I was…”).
What puts me off is the fact that “I wish I was…” has become so commonplace that seemingly abundant hordes of people are clueless to the fact that it is wrong. I am not referring to the one-in-five illiterates or those unfortunate enough not to have had the opportunity to complete their basic education. I am referring to college and university students arguing that “I wish I were…” sounds, and I quote, “stupid and wrong”.
As I said, I don’t want to body-slam anyone already down for the count, but is this really the direction we want our language to take?