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  1. #1
    new2grammar's Avatar
    new2grammar is offline Senior Member
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    Default Kindly explain the usage of 'were' in the context

    I read this following sentences in the novel (bloodline - Sidner Sheldon)

    1. ...they stared at me, as if he were a living ghost
    if we use was instead of were here is it inappropraite

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Kindly explain the usage of 'were' in the context

    It is the invariable past subjunctive of the verb 'be' and is employed very naturally here after 'as if' to denote an appearance that, in the speaker's view, is/was contrary to reality.

    Where, on the other hand, the speaker wishes to concede at least the possibility of the appearance's corresponding to reality, the indicative is more likely to be used. Compare

    Although we've never found one yet, he was talking the other day as if there really was another way to tackle this problem.

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