Hi,

This is from a book:

Finding the bird would have been nice, sure, but it was silly to act as though she needed that money to survive.

She is a wealthy old lady and didn't need that money in this story. But I am wondering why the sentence is not, "but it was silly to act as though she had needed that money to survive."

Would you explain why? I think English has very strict rules in terms of tense.

Thank you in advance,

m
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The perfect tense is often optional. The rules relate more to when you may not use it than to when you must.

In this case, "to act" is non-finite. It was silly to act how?

I guess you could use the perfect infinitive followed by the past perfect:

It was silly to have acted as though she had needed the money.

(In this way, both actions are complete - the acting and the [pretended] needing.)

If you say, "it was silly to act as though she had needed the money," the implication is that while she was acting that way she no longer needed it. (or pretended to)
Hi M,

http://www.eslmonster.com/article/as-ifas-though-past-subjunctive

A simple google search led me to this article. Whether we can trust it or not is another thing.
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Hi, English,

Thanks for the link. It's surely pertinent.

But this is still a mind boggler. I hadn't even gotten around to thinking of this as a subjunctive.
mitsuwao23it was silly to act as though she needed that money to survive.
So we compare this to: He talks/talked as though he knew who Jane was.

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

It is/was silly to act as though she needed the money

He talks/talked as though he knew who Jane was

The underlined words are the subjunctives. The main verbs can be present or past tense.

So how do we explain:

It is/was silly to act as though she needs the money.

He talks/talked as though he knows who Jane is/was.

If these are subjunctives, shouldn't we say "as though she need the money" and "as though he know who Jane is/was"?
Hi A

I am quite confident as though/as if calls for the subjunctive. I've read quite a lot on subjunctive, all articles listing this as an instance where the subjunctive is needed.

In your final example sentences, where the words that follow are not hypothetical, we do not use the subjunctive.

Regarding your final statement (sorry, I my quote button seems not to be working), I believe you are using the present subjunctive, not the past subjunctive. The present subjunctive, used with commands etc, uses bare infinitives.

Hello Avangi, Thank you for the reply.

I wish I was capable of explaining what's confusing me, but I'm not. So would you see the attachment? That is from a text book I always refer to. Very basic one but very well written. (UK English not US)

So, I think one could say:

He talks as though he knows who Jane is.

He talked as though he know who Jane was.

But that, I think, means he actually knows who Jane is. If he doesn't know who Jane is these sentence should be, if I understood the text correctly:

He talks as thought he knew who Jane was.

He talked as thought he had known who Jane was.

So, I had figured the original sentence of "It was silly to act as though she needed that money to survive" was:

"It is silly to act as though she needed that money to survive" and should be in the past tense:

"It was silly to act as thought she had needed that money to survive." because she actually is a rich person. But the writer wrote it the way he wrote it.

But as I said, it's from UK English and US English might be different. (The writer is American.)
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The attachment looked terrible. I hope this works better.
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