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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Can you tell the difference for four cases?

    1.She looks as if she is sick.(factual-present)

    2.She looks as if she were sick.(counterfactual-present)

    3.She looks as if she had been sick. (counterfactual-past)

    4.She looks as if she was sick.(factual-past)

    Can you tell the difference? Is 2,3 right for counterfactual assumption?
    Does 2 mean she actually is not sick, but she looks so?
    Does 3 mean she actually was not sick, but she looks so?

    If they are correct, I guess the below means "He hadn't been sick, but he only looked so) Am I right?

    5.She looked as if she had been sick. (counterfactual-past participle)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    1.She looks as if she is sick.(factual-present)
    Well, the description of her appearance is factual. We don't know whether she really is sick.

    2.She looks as if she were sick.(counterfactual-present)
    Given that we are talking about how she appears, I don't think this is possible. She either looks sick or she doesn't. Whether she actually is sick is a different question.

    3.She looks as if she had been sick. (counterfactual-past). No.

    4.She looks as if she was sick.(factual-past)
    Yes, provided we know what past time we are talking about. Otherwise: "She looks as if she has been sick".

    If they are correct, I guess the below means "He hadn't been sick, but he only looked so) Am I right? No

    5.She looked as if she had been sick.
    This means that , at the past time we are talking about, she had the appearance of someone who had previously been sick.


    'Look as if' simply describes an appearance. We do not know whether the appearance described reflects the actual situation.

    'If' , with 'as', can introduce hypothetical and counterfactual situations.

  3. #3
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    1.She looks as if she is sick.(factual-present)
    Well, the description of her appearance is factual. We don't know whether she really is sick.

    2.She looks as if she were sick.(counterfactual-present)
    Given that we are talking about how she appears, I don't think this is possible. She either looks sick or she doesn't. Whether she actually is sick is a different question.

    3.She looks as if she had been sick. (counterfactual-past). No.

    4.She looks as if she was sick.(factual-past)
    Yes, provided we know what past time we are talking about. Otherwise: "She looks as if she has been sick".

    If they are correct, I guess the below means "He hadn't been sick, but he only looked so) Am I right? No

    5.She looked as if she had been sick.
    This means that , at the past time we are talking about, she had the appearance of someone who had previously been sick.


    'Look as if' simply describes an appearance. We do not know whether the appearance described reflects the actual situation.

    'If' , with 'as', can introduce hypothetical and counterfactual situations.
    I'm sorry I can't understand 90% of what you said, It's a pity and shock as what you said is totally different from what I learned...

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I'm sorry I can't understand 90% of what you said, It's a pity and shock as what you said is totally different from what I learned...
    Do you mean that you do not understand my English, or that you disagree with what I wrote? or what?

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I'm sorry I can't understand 90% of what you said, It's a pity and shock as what you said is totally different from what I learned...
    It's impossible for you to not have understood what 5jj said, and to have simlutaneously come to the conclusion that it's completely counter to what you've been taught!

    Why not say what you think the sentences mean, and what the difference is, and someone can comment. That might be easier.

  6. #6
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    I couldn't understand your English, maybe that is not a good example, so I'd like to show you a better one, I guess.

    1.She talks as if she is rich. (factual-present)

    2.She talks as if she were rich (counterfactual-present)

    3.She talks as if she was rich. (factual-past).
    In this case, she was either rich or not, but it was possible, so it is factual.
    4.She talks as if she had been rich. (counterfactual-present)
    She wasn't actually rich, but she pretends she was. Is it correct?

    5.She talked as if she were rich. (counterfactual-past).
    She wasn't actually rich, but she pretended she was. Is it correct?

    4.She talked as if she was rich. (factual-past)
    In this case, she was either rich or not, but it was possible, so it is factual, but it's different from 3 in that it was said in the past. Is it correct?

    5.She talked as if she had been rich.(factual or counterfactual?-past perfect)
    I'm stuck here, does it mean before she talked,
    a. factual: she possibly had been rich or not?
    b. she hadn't been actually rich, but she pretended it?

    There seems to be no way to distinguish the two, or they can't be distinguished?

    I thought what I learned like the above applies to every case, but it doesn't seem to apply to "look as if" case you explained. Or I might have a totally wrong concept about this.

    I learned "as if" is a special case as its "were" refers to the same tense of the main verb while "had been" to one tense prior. They have relative tenses unlike normal if clauses.

    I need your kind explanation again, please.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    1.She talks as if she is rich. (factual-present)
    The 'talking is a presented as a fact. The 'being rich' is presented as an appearance. We don't know whether she is rich or not.

    2.She talks as if she were rich (counterfactual-present)
    I said previously that I don't think this is possible but, after due consideration, I now feel that some people might say it. The possibility of her being rich is less real than in #1, but I don't feel that it is totally excluded, so the word 'counterfactual' is inappropriate.

    3. She talks as if she was rich. (factual-past).
    In this case, she was either rich or not, but it was possible, so it is factual.
    If we don't know whether she was rich or not, we can hardly call this 'factual'.

    4.She talks as if she had been rich. (counterfactual-present)
    She wasn't actually rich, but she pretends she was. Is it correct?
    Whatever it is, it's not 'counterfactual present'. She now speaks in a manner that suggests that at some time in the past, before another past time already noted, she had been rich. Yet again, we do not know whether she had been rich or not.

    5.She talked as if she were rich. (counterfactual-past).
    She wasn't actually rich, but she pretended she was. Is it correct?
    Probably.

    4. She talked as if she was rich. (factual-past)
    In this case, she was either rich or not, but it was possible, so it is factual, but it's different from 3 in that it was said in the past. Is it correct?
    My comments on #3 apply here.

    5.She talked as if she had been rich.(factual or counterfactual?-past perfect)
    I'm stuck here, does it mean before she talked,
    a. factual: she possibly had been rich or not?
    b. she hadn't been actually rich, but she pretended it?
    It could mean either. The context will make it clear.
    5

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Keannu, how do you understand the terms 'factual' and 'counterfactual'? and their application? The majority of those sentences deal with hypotheses about which we can't tell if they are true or not simply from the sentence.
    Factual means true; counterfactual means false.

    Here's a possible point you might be misunderstanding.
    We'd say either, "She talks as if she were rich" or "She talks as if she is rich" or "She talks as if she was rich."
    In all of these cases (which mean pretty much the same to me), you don't know whether she is rich or not. If you don't know if she is rich, then you can't label the statement "she is rich" as being either factual or counterfactual.

    So, what you are doing seems to be a misguided exercise.
    What is it that you were taught is right which 5jj has said is wrong?

  9. #9
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    I've been to Canada for two years, and I got back to Korea last year.
    Before I went to Canada, I didn't have any concept of factual and counter-factual conditionals, and below is the website you can refer to for the definition.
    Conditional sentence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    By "factual", I mean something either true or false as in conditional 1. I didn't mean something is 100% true, but something that can be true or false like in the conditional clause
    "If it rains tomorrow, I will bring an umbrealla" - It can rain or not.

    By "counter-factual" I mean you make a hypothethical assumption contrary to what actually happened as in conditional 2 and conditional 3.
    For example, "If I had had an umbrella yesterday, I wouldn't have got soaking wet." - the fact is "I didn't have an umbrella, so I got wet"

    I'm tutoring English to students with a grammar book, and it says like this.

    1.He acts as if he were(was) the boss - (contrary to the present fact), He is actually not a boss.

    2. She looks as if she were(was) sick - (contrary to the present fact), She is actually not sick.

    3. Everybody acted as if nothing had ever happened. - contrary to the past fact(actually something happened)

    4.It looks as if you haven't finished your assignment - it could be true or false that you haven't finished your assignment .

    I didn't know the difference between factual and counter-factual before I went to Canada, but I learned there definitely is the difference while using conditionals, and when I learned "as if" clause long before, I didn't care about the factuality but the nuance of something looking like something else.

    "As if" clause also seems to have factual or counter-factual like conditionals according to the grammar book, but you both are saying there's no difference between the two, so I guess the grammar book is wrong.

    Please convince me of such no difference also comparing with conditionals.
    Thank you so much!

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

    Your understanding of factual and counterfactual is roughly the same as mine. However, these terms are normally used for conditional sentences, which was what your link was about.

    There have been a couple of difficulties in this thread so far.

    A. The way you originally tried to label your sentences was not clear:

    "1.She looks as if she is sick.(factual-present)
    2. She looks as if she were* sick.(counterfactual-present)"

    In both sentences, her appearance is presented as a fact; her sickness is not. Your labels are therefore not helpful, in my opinion.

    *In my first post, I wrote of #2: "I don't think this is possible". I was mistaken. I am sorry if that has contributed to your confusion. However, I feel that 'she loks as if she is sick' can be used even if she isn't (see below).

    B. In conditional sentences with just 'if', the reality of the main clause is dependent on that of the if-clause.
    The reality of the main clause does not depend on that of an as-if-clause.

    The situation in the as-if clause is always non-factual, regardeless of what tense forms we use. That is not to say that it is necessarily counterfactual.

    In:

    She looks as if she is/was/were sick


    the speaker has chosen to describe her appearance - that of someone who is/was/has been sick. So, even if the speaker knows for certain that she is not, and has not been sick, the speaker can still say, "She looks as if she is sick (but she is completely fit and healthy."

    C. Your grammar book is not exactly wrong (and its examples did not use 'look'). However, many speakers use different forms.

    Your grammar book says:

    "1.He acts as if he were(was) the boss" - (contrary to the present fact), He is actually not a boss".

    Fine, but some speakers would use is. http://www.americancorpus.org/?q=2901330 gives 3 citations for ... acts as if he is, and 4 for acts as if he were (none for act as if he was). The is examples arppear to be as hypothetical as the were examples.


    If you are interested in my thoughts on conditionals, you might be interested In these: http://gramorak.com/Articles/If.pdf and http://gramorak.com/Articles/Conditionals.pdf

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