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Hello,

I hope someone reads and helps me

What are the differences between the two following sentences in meaning? Do they mean different things or is there a point where they semantically meet? Sometimes I find subjunctive constructions unbelievably complicated. In most cases, it is difficult to tell which is which.

From the report, it looked as if he played a crucial role in smuggling.

From the report, it looked as if he had played a crucial role in smuggling.

And here is some information about what outstanding writers say on the issue; I'm damned if I have understood anything! I'll send two packets of Turkish Delight and a tepsi of Baklava to whoever can help me out understand the subject:)

Michael SWAN : Practical English Usage, page 180-181

I felt like / as if I was swimming ( It seemed as if I was swimming)

Alice felt as if / as though she was in a very nice dream.

Alice feels as if / as though she is in a very nice dream.

Michael SWAN : Practical English Usage, page 424

5 If, as if and as though

It is used to introduce some clauses with if, as and as though.

It looks as if we’re going to have have trouble with an again

It’s not as if this was the first time she’s been difficult. ( gerçek değil ama öyle görünüyor. Hayali, uydurma)

Martin HEWINGS Advanced grammar in Use page 170.

I remember stepping off the boat in New York as if it were yesterday

Despite losing the election, she continuous to act as though she were prime minister.

A practical English Grammar A.J. THOMSON. A.V MARTINET Page : 250

The past subjunctive can be used similarly after as if / as though to indicate unreality or improbability or doubt in the present (there is no difference between as if and as though)

He behaves as if he owned th eplace ( But he doesn’t own it or probably doesn’t own it or we don’t know whether he owns it or not)

He talks as though he knew where she was (but he doesn’t know or he probably doesn’t know or we don’t know whether he knows or not)

He orders me about as if I were his wife ( But I am not).

The verb preceding as if as though can be put into a past tense without changing the tense of the subjunctive:

He talks / talked as though he knew where she was.

After as if / as though we use Past Perfect when refering to a real or imaginary action in the past:

He talks about Rome as though he had been there himself. (but he hasn’t or probably he hasn’t or we don’t know whether he has or not)

Again, the verb preceding as if / as though can be put into a Past Tense without changing the tense of the subjunctive :

He looks / looked as though he hadn’t had a decent meal for a month

Thanks a million!
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Comments  (Page 2) 
"In the second sentence after "as if" (and after "it looked" which is the past tense as well) the past perfect follows. The sentence means that he did not play any crucial role in smuggling and we are sure of it. It only looked so. It is not subjunctive here!"

....and we are sure of it. It is a stranbge statement. If we were sure why would we use AS IF?
With all due respect, your cf "It looks like/as if/as though it's going to rain" offers up a real howler. You never use "like" before a verb: "it looks LIKE it's going to rain". This is plain wrong.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
If you are so worried about grammar and usage, try "whomever" instead of "whoever" and delete the word "out" in the phrase quoted below:

[. . . and a tepsi of Baklava to whoever can help me out understand . . .]

Can you give me the rule of using "as if" in subjuctive mood?
I think it is:
real present: S1 + V1 present + as if + S2 + V2 present
unreal present: S1 + V1 (present/past) + as if + S2 + V2 past
real past: S1 + V1 present + as if + S2 + present perfect
unreal past : S1 + v1 past + as if + S2 + past perfect
Is that right?

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