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You look as if the game ruined your life.

Would everyone agree the past subjunctive 'ruined' here refers to the present?

If you agree, then would you say the verb following in these next examples (play/played) should agree with the tense or time expressed of the 'verb' ruined?

You look as if the game ruined your life after you play it. (play agress with time expressed by ruined)

Or

You look as if the game ruined your life after you played it. (played agrees with tense/form of ruined)

Thanks
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Comments  
Interesting question. People frequently mix and match these tenses.

No, I don't agree with your premise.
I think "look" refers to the present.
You look as if you swallowed a bug. "Swallowed" and "ruined" refer to the past.

"After you play it" refers to habitual behavior.
I think that if you want to refer to a particular game (in the past), then both "looked" and "played" should be in the past, assuming the look is not still on your face five years later.

You look as if the game ruined your life after you played it means to me that the ruining took place sometime after the game - and you still continue to look that way.
According to grammaring.com, my sentence is valid, I should think. 'ruined' is referring to a present time.

Tell me what you think, if this quote changes anything. Cheers:

Clauses that start with as if/as though express doubt or uncertainty if they are followed by an unreal tense. Otherwise, they express that the statement is true or might be true.
He looks as if he knows the answer. (= He seems to know the answer, and he probably does.)
He looks as if he knew the answer. (= He seems to know the answer, but he doesn't.)
In the past tense both sentences will read as follows. Mind that knew in the second sentence does not change into had known.
He looked as if he knew the answer.
The meaning of this sentence, therefore, can only be deduced from the context.

If we talk about a hypothetical past situation, the past perfect tense is used.
You seem as if you hadn’t slept for three days. (= You seem not to have slept for three days, but I know you have.)
He grinned as though he’d been drinking for hours.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
No, I don't agree with your premise.
I think "look" refers to the present.
You look as if you swallowed a bug. "Swallowed" and "ruined" refer to the past.
_______

I agree with Avangi's assessment above.

CJ
He looks as if he knew the answer.

This is from the quote above in my 2nd post. 'knew' is a past subjunctive that refers to the present.

What is so different about my example that makes 'ruined' unable to be a past subjunctive that refers to the present?

Thank you
English 1b3What is so different about my example ... ?
It contains the stative verb "know". That may have something to do with it.

CJ
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Ok, so you are saying the above rules are untrue when dealing with stative verbs, or at least the stative verb 'know.'

My understanding is that the past subjunctive is used for hypothetical situations, such as conditionals; wish clauses; and expressions expressing counterfactuality, such as 'as if/though.'

I also understand the past subjunctive verb always expresses a present or future time, even though it is a past tense.

This is why I've been confused by this sentence. You guys are saying it refers to a past time.

Are you able to put me straight, please?
English 1b3 I also understand the past subjunctive verb always expresses a present or future time, even though it is a past tense.

This is why I've been confused Can you provide a reference for this "rule"?

It's hard for me to understand how an event which took place in the past, hypothetically, counterfactually, or otherwise, can express a present event. Shall the event occur twice?

I suspect that if you carefully examine the examples in your reference, you'll find the verbs express a condition, or a state - not an event.

The subjunctive mood has many uses, some of which are obsolete.

http://www.grammaring.com/as-if-as-though

And:

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 the place ( 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
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