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Hello, everyone! I have one question about "I ate food like there was no more tomorrow." Though I know "There is/was no more tomorrow" is the idiomatic expression for the case someone does somethingvery fast, in large amounts and without thinking carefully, I would hope to hear from you following alternatives arealso acceptable or not; 1) I ate food as if (like) there would be no (more) 'tomorrow'.
2) I ate food as if (like) there would not come 'tomorrow'.3) I ate food as if (like) there would not be 'tomorrow'.4) I ate food as if (like) 'tomorrow' would not come. I assume above 4 alternatives might be acceptable, because "would" as a past tense of "will" could be used in the"as if + indicative mood" clause. Will appreciate, if you kindly explain which one is unacceptable with the reason (unidiomatic or ungrammatical). Always thanking for your clarification, Best RGDS,
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The expression that I know is "as if / like there was no tomorrow". Usually "was" is left unbackshifted, but for past events you occasionally might see "as if / like there would be no tomorrow". I have never heard of "like there was no more tomorrow", albeit there are a smattering of Google hits. You probably don't need to say "ate food"; "ate" alone will normally suffice. Thus: "I ate like there was no tomorrow".

deepcosmos2) I ate food as if (like) there would not come 'tomorrow'.

"there would not come ~" is not usable in ordinary modern English. It is possible only in poetic or archaic language.

There seems no reason to put "tomorrow" in quotation marks.

deepcosmos3) I ate food as if (like) there would not be 'tomorrow'.

Not really idiomatic.

deepcosmos4) I ate food as if (like) 'tomorrow' would not come.

This is correct English (other than the unexplained quotation marks that I mentioned), but it does not exactly capture the feel of the set expression "like there was no tomorrow".

Comments  

The idiomatic form is not "like there was no more tomorrow". It is "like there was no tomorrow". It is a fixed expression, which means that it cannot be altered in any of the ways you propose.

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GPYUsually "was" is left unbackshifted, but for past events you occasionally might see "as if / like there would be no tomorrow".

Thanks for your reply, GPY.


While I understand all your explanation, do you mean by your comments-"Usually "was" is left unbackshifted"-

that you don't use "subjunctive mood", for example;


1) I ate like there [was] no tomorrow. (indicative mood, =0)

2) I ate as if there [had been] no tomorrow. (subjunctive mood, =X)


Would hope to hear again,


Best RGDS,

deepcosmosWhile I understand all your explanation, do you mean by your comments-"Usually "was" is left unbackshifted"-

Sorry, I didn't explain that very clearly.

"I ate as if there had been no tomorrow" is hardly possible in English. This is because "tomorrow" is in the future as of the time of "I ate".

According to normal rules of English, we might expect "I ate as if there would be no tomorrow". However, in practice people most often say "I ate as if there was no tomorrow". This is probably because we see the version with "was" as an immutable fixed phrase.

GPY"there would not come ~" is not usable in ordinary modern English. It is possible only in poetic or archaic language.

It occurred to me later that this is not always true. With a few subjects, especially countable time-related subjects, it is possible in a formal style. For example, "there would not come a time when ...". However, "there would not come tomorrow" feels poetic/archaic.

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GPYAccording to normal rules of English, we might expect "I ate as if there would be no tomorrow". However, in practice people most often say "I ate as if there was no tomorrow". This is probably because we see the version with "was" as an immutable fixed phrase.

Fully noted.

GPYIt occurred to me later that this is not always true. With a few subjects, especially countable time-related subjects, it is possible in a formal style. For example, "there would not come a time when ...". However, "there would not come tomorrow" feels poetic/archaic.

Thanking for your kind replies,


Best RGDS

anonymousThe idiomatic form is not "like there was no more tomorrow". It is "like there was no tomorrow". It is a fixed expression, which means that it cannot be altered in any of the ways you propose.

Thanks, Anon and Best RGDS