+0
Hi,
I was taught to use past tense after the expression "as if" as in "he behaves as if he was a fool" (or past perfect as in "he behaved as if he had been a fool"). But so many times I see people writing both the verbs in the same tense (e.g. he behaves as if he IS a fool" - not sure it's right) and I don't have an idea when to use what. So could anyone please explain me when I should use "as if IS" and when "as if were" (If the main verb is in the same tense in the both, present simple I suppose).
Thanks in advance.
1 2 3
Comments  (Page 2) 
It isn't my fault, Officer-- I was wheedled into it!
'As if' is a part of one of those remnants of the subjunctive for hypothetical situations, Mav, so if you wish to write carefully:

'He behaves as if he were a fool.' (timeless)
'He is behaving as if he were a fool.' (present)
'He behaved as if he had been a fool.' (past)

The truth of the matter is that we see more and more an admixture:

'He behaves as if he was a fool.'
'He is behaving as if he is a fool.'
'He behaved as if he was a fool.'
'He behaves as if he is going to be appointed a fool'.

==

JTT: These are not new constructions, Mr M. We see these "admixtures" because language has to be able to describe all situations, all nuances. "as if" is no more subjunctive than plain old 'if'. In fact, a sentence can't be subjunctive until it makes use of a subjunctive form.

But subjunctive forms are only forms, remnants of older forms. The IMPORTANT thing to remember about the remaining subjunctive forms of English is that there are other forms that have EXACTLY the same meaning, though the level of formality changes.

A conditional sentence is a conditional sentence. Some conditionals just tend more to the real side of the spectrum, ie they describe events that are thought of as more realistic.

Some conditionals lean towards the doubtful and some occupy that portion of the spectrum that is unreal/counterfactual.

But it is a spectrum; it's NOT three isolated chunks as envisioned by conditionals 1-2&3. Every one of your 'admixtures' is perfectly grammatical for certain language scenarios.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

"He acted as if he __ crazy".

Mr M: I consider 'were' the only correct answer on this test. It is 'more grammatical'.

JTT: 'were' is no more grammatical than or . You've demolished Mr P's "indicative thesis" with what you've stated here. Are we not looking at a real incident here? Wouldn't that, according to Mr P's theory, demand a and rule out a ?

And of course, an would also be possible if the speaker wanted to emphasize his current state.

Bystander [to policeman]: He acted as if he IS crazy. You know what. I think he is crazy. There he is over there. Look at him! He is crazy!
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
What do you mean "standart"?
Wouldn't it be better to say "He acted as if he HAD BEEN crazy"?
It looks as if the other inmates are sleeping, Mav.

Yes, you could not be challenged if you used that form (Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech & Svartvik 16.24n).
'Suppose (that) I had a million pounds'
'Suppose as if I ___ a miilion pounds'----> What's that? 'have'?

I've read some posts about subjuctives but I still don't understand the 'as if' ones. They weren't explicitly explained and I don't understand the logic of that.
'He looked at me as if I were a monster'
'He wouldn't look at me this way if I weren't a monster'.

But 'as if' describes smth that is contrary to fact, doesn't it? I mean, smth that doesn't really happen and therefore "If it happened I would be true...".
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Something is wrong with your second sentence, Mav. Typo? 'Suppose as if' is not possible.
Maverick wrote:
But 'as if' describes smth that is contrary to fact, doesn't it? I mean, smth that doesn't really happen and therefore "If it happened I would be true...".
'Suppose (that) I had a million pounds'
Hmmm...Probably:
'It is as if I ___ a million pounds'----> What's that? 'have'?

1) Is it possible: 'It seems as if I ___ a million pounds'?
2)But 'as if' describes smth that is contrary to fact, doesn't it? I mean, smth that doesn't really happen and therefore "If it happened I would be true...". So if we are talking about something surreal in the past it's the 3-d conditional and therefore 'as if' doescribes something that WOULD HAVE happened. Where's my mistake?
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I can't explicitly explain why I think so, Mr.JTT., but it seems so to me.
I think 'as if' describes something that is assumed, not real, something that would be real but is actually contrary to reality.
Show more