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He there. I'm a little bit confused.

She thought, what if he were caught by police, stealing the tree?

Is it right to use such a construction with refference to a future in the past? Is there any rules or we just need use general rule about reported speech? Does any clause with if act like an adverbial clause of time and therefore can't include future tenses (will)?

It looks as if he tries/tried/will try to impersonate a police officer.
Am I right here?

Any other and additional explanations about using it and grammar constructions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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The first sentence seems like a kind of stream of consciousness to me. This technique is employed by some writers. I get this impression because from a strictly grammatical viewpoint, the sentence is ungrammatical in that there is a comma between the verb (thought) and its object (what if he were caught by police). The rule is: no comma should be between the verb and the object. I feel tempted to change the sentence a little: She thought, "What if he is caught by police, stealing the tree?"

I think English is flexible enough for the sentence to stand as it is, though.Emotion: smile My personal preference would be to usethe with police,but I suppose I'm alone with that.Emotion: crying In the old days people usually used the article withpolice. I wouldn't use will in the if clause, but someone else might do that. After all, the sentence defies some basic rules of grammar anyway.

As for your second sentence, the present tense (tries or is trying) goes together with looks very well, but the past subjunctive (tried or were trying) are also frequently used in sentences like this. I don't think there's agreement on correctness here. Since if doesn't denote condition in the sentence, even the future tense (will try) might be used by some to refer to future action.

CB
Cool BreezeThis technique is employed by some writers.

Yeah, you revealed everything.Emotion: stick out tongue It's "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham. Awesome book, by the way. Summarize, all those (what if, as if, and such phrases) don't define clauses as conditional, do they? Thank you, Cool Breeze.
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FandorinSummarize, all those (what if, as if, and such phrases) don't define clauses as conditional, do they? Thank you, Cool Breeze.

I never thought of it that way. I guess not since such a variety of verb forms are actually used with them. I'm more interested in what is said and written than what it is called.

CB
FandorinShe thought, what if he were caught by police, stealing the tree?
This is the subjunctive (were), not a future of the past, and it's more like narrative writing than expository writing.

what if takes the same tenses as if alone. You can think of it as an abbreviated form of What would happen if he were caught ...
FandorinIt looks as if he tries/tried/will try to impersonate a police officer. Am I right here?
Not really. as if takes any tense. Less formally, like can substitute.

It looks [like / as if] [he's trying / he tried / he'll try / he's going to try / he were trying / he has to try / he might try / he has been trying / he would have tried / ...] to ...

CJ
I don't try to classify them, just I hope to know how to use them correctly. Emotion: smile Thank you, CB.
Cool Breeze I'm more interested in what is said and written than what it is called.
Hm... Emotion: surprise
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Hi, CalifJim. Thank you. It does make sense.

Thank you all, guys.