In Columns 15 and 16, I wrote about one grammatically incorrect use of "were". Let us look at another use of "were", which I also think is incorrect.
I have simplified the original sentence, but it was like this:
She told the press that her supporters would continue the campaign even if she were arrested.
We can certainly understand the temptation of the writer to use "were". After all, "if" comes before, so it seems natural to use "were".
However, we can imagine that her actual words to the press were something like this:
"My supporters will continue the campaign even if I am arrested."
The that-clause in the original sentence is an example of reported speech. The rules of reported speech, based on the original sentence, are as follows:
"my supporters" > her supporters
"will continue" > would continue
"I" > she
"am arrested" > was arrested (NOT were arrested)
Therefore the correct English would be:
She told the press that her supporters would continue the campaign even if she was arrested.
As I pointed out in Columns 15 and 16, there is a tendency to use "were" in place of "was" since it sometimes seems more elegant.
・reported speech: 間接話法
・the temptation of A to do: Aが～したいという誘惑
・a tendency to do: ～する傾向
・in place of: ～の代わりに