"would it were"--huh?

“I would it were . . .”

This use of the subjunctive baffles me. What’s it mean? Is it correct gramatically?

:confused: Context?

There’s lots of implied words there:

“I would prefer that it were true.”

The subjunctive of “was” is “were,” so yeah, I guess it’s correct gramatically.

Wish it was.

I think the phrase is “would that it were,” you can use it in place of “I wish.” If you hang with people who like to act like they read a lot of ancient English, you will look ever so cool. For bonus points, you can add as an aside “and I use the subjunctive–carefully.” with a clever little wink. Oh, you’ll be knockin’ 'em dead.