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Hello,

Long time no see!

It seemed as if he was seeing her for the first time.
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Does the bold part have two possible meanings?

A. backshift version of "is seeing"
B. Conditional


So, when A is applied, the sentence means that it looked like he was seeing her for the first time.

When B is applied, the sentence means that the speaker knows that he wasn't seeing her for the first time, but it looked like as if he was seeing her for the first time. For example, looking at her for long time, etc.

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pructusLong time no see!

Indeed! Going on two years! Welcome back!

pructus

It seemed as if he was seeing her for the first time.
*********
Does the bold part have two possible meanings?
A. backshift version of "is seeing"
B. Conditional


So, when A is applied, the sentence means that it looked like he was seeing her for the first time.
When B is applied, the sentence means that the speaker knows that he wasn't seeing her for the first time, but it looked like as if he was seeing her for the first time. For example, looking at her for long time, etc.

I've never thought of an 'as if' clause as having two meanings, but I suppose you could interpret your sentence in either of the ways you mentioned.

It's just that native speakers probably would not make the distinction between whether the speaker knew or not that he wasn't seeing her for the first time. I'd say that if it were important, that fact would have been brought up earlier in the conversation.

CJ

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Ohhh
Thank you and thank you, CalifJim!