German subjunctive I
Rather than a "verb tense", the subjunctive is considered a "verb mood" that conveys a message which may not be factual.
The English phrase "If I were you, I would..." is an example of the verb "to be" in subjunctive form "were". It is sending a message to another that is not a statement of fact. Other examples of the subjunctive in English are "Now that would be a nutty thing to do!" or "Be that as it may".
In Germany, the subjunctive is seen primarily in television news or in printed form when indirectly quoting another individual. It is not important to know how to use or recognize it in conversation but should be recognized when heard or seen on radio or in newspapers.