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We are teaching in China. We are still confused about the following questions. What is the correct way for this sentence to be stated:

I still remember the whole thing, as if it happened yesterday.

OR

I still remember the whole thing, as if it had happened yesterday.

We've read your discussion on mixed conditionals, but are still confused.

We'd appreciate any help.

Many thanks!!!
Comments  
It is a past counterfactual, so it's "as if it had happened yesterday".
Nevertheless, it is quite common for native speakers to substitute the simple past for the past perfect, so you will very frequently hear "as if it happened yesterday", which means exactly the same thing.

CJ
Try looking at it this way, Guest.

1. I would have gone {past event}, if I were you {present counterfactual}.

Here I am focused on me being you.

2. I would have gone, if I had been you [in that situation].

Here I am focused on the time of the lost opportunity. Either is okay because the hypothetical "If I were you" easily entails that this would make me you in the past too.

This is a situation where both work but some collocations tend to "force" us into choosing one or the other.

I wasn't born as you. ---> ??If I were born as you?? ----> If I had been born as you,

With respect to the current example, I'll suggest that "as if it happened yesterday" has taken on the nature of of a fixed idiom which points to how clearly I remember. Of course that doesn't exclude the option, "as if it HAD happened yesterday".
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I find 'as if it had' or 'as if it'd happened yesterday' more comfortable. The 'd' in 'it'd' would be little more than a glottal stop. I don't know if that's a BrE preference.

I would take the sentence as an ellipsis of:

1. I remember it as if it had happened yesterday.

i.e.

2. If it had happened yesterday, I would remember it as I now remember it.

MrP
Is 'as clearly as' understood?

I still remember the whole thing, AS CLEARLY AS if it had happened yesterday.

(Sorry, I knoe it's a bit off the topic.)
Hello Conus

Yes, I think 'remembering clearly' is implicit here. Though I myself remember very little about yesterday.

(I got an {Error 500} when I clicked on your website. But then, if I were a guru, I might well recommend Error 500 to my pupils as a kind of communal, low-maintenance, ever-accessible website. So that's ok.)

MrP
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Hello guys

The description of OED suggests 'as if' was simple 'as' in its original use. The sense of supposition seems to have been expressed by the use of the subjunctive mood and 'if' appears to have been inserted in later stages as a sign to make sure the subjunctiveness (=the sense of supposition).

"as"
1b. Expressing a comparison with a hypothetical fact or state expressed by the subjunctive: As if, as though. (Cf. 9.) arch.
1366 Mandeville, As wel as thei had ben of the same Contree. 1399 Langl. Rich. Redeless iii. 46 Thanne cometh þer a congioun...As not of his nolle as he þe nest made. c1590 Marlowe Jew Malta i. i. 59 Will serve as well as I were present there. 1795 Southey Joan of Arc v. 325 As certain of success As he had made a league with Victory.
9a. Introducing a supposition, expressed by the subjunctive mood: As if, as though. arch. (Cf. 1b.)
1135 O.E. Chron., Uuard þe sunne suilc als it uuare thre niht ald mone. a1250 Owl & Night. 146 To-svolle...Also ho hadde one frogge i-svolŠe. a1300 Havelok 508 Starinde als he were wod. 1413 Lydg. Pylgr. Sowle ii. xlv. 51 Somme hadden longe hoked clawes, lyke as they had ben lyons. 1593 Shakes. 2 Hen. VI, i. i. 103 Vndoing all, as all had never bin. 1671 Milton P.R. iv. 447, I heard the wrack As earth and sky would mingle. 1681 Dryden Abs. & Achit. 848 It looks as Heav'n our Ruin had design'd. 1800 Coleridge Wallenstein i. v, He looks as he had seen a ghost.
9b. If and though are now commonly expressed.
a1300 Cursor M. 7690 Als þof his wiþerwin he war. 1523 Fitzherb. Surv. xi. (1539) 17 As and a lorde haue a manour. 1579 Spenser Sheph. Cal. Jan. 18 As if my yeare were wast, and woxen old. 1795 Southey Joan of Arc i. 381 Wks. I. 14 As though by some divinity possess'd. 1867 Carlyle Remin. (1881) II. 18, I was banished solitary as if to the bottom of a cave.
9c. esp. in as it were: as if it were so, if one might so put it, in some sort: a parenthetic phrase used to indicate that a word or statement is perhaps not formally exact though practically right.
c1386 Chaucer Nun's Pr. T. 26 She was as it were a maner deye. 1399 Langl. P. Pl. C. ix. 22 Ich wolde a-saye som tyme for solas, as hit were. 1531 Elyot Gov. (1834) 211 It draweth a man as it were by violence. 1579 E. K. in Spenser's Sheph. Cal. Mar. 11 Gloss., The messenger, and as it were, the forerunner of springe. 1692 E. Walker Epictetus' Mor. (1737) ***, You're as it were the Actor of a Play. 1711 Steele Spect. No. 32 31 She has thought fit, as it were, to mock herself. 1881 Buchanan God & Man I. 124 She took him at once, as it were, into her confidence.

paco