If I were young
If I was young
- vincentAugust 2019
"Were" is the subjunctive form of "to be." The word is most commonly used as a past tense form in the second person and plural third person. (You were, they were)
"Was" is the past tense form in the first and third persons. (I was, he was, and she was)
The correct case would be "If I were young" because you're expressing a hypothetical scenario or a wish. But most of the time, you'll hear a lot of English speakers say "If I was young." instead of the former. Grammatically, it is not correct but it is the same thing as the other form and it happens alot in everyday conversations and the media.
Honestly, and especially in American English, the difference between "were / was" for the first person singular in modal preterit is fading away. Both represent a virtual situation, e.g., one that is completely disconnected from the real world. Some linguists argue that with the 1st person singular "were" emphasizes more acutely the impossibilty for any realization of the action associated in the main clause. That is probably the reason why you never hear "If I was you", but "If I were you", instead, as if to say, "I will never be you anyway". That being said, "were" remains the most formal version as of today.