Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    diplomacy is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Current Location:
      • Saudi Arabia
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    240
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default If he was/if he were

    When should I use as if he was and as if he were?

    Is this sentence correct? If not why?

    He pretended as if he was a wise man.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,565
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: If he was/if he were

    Quote Originally Posted by diplomacy View Post
    When should I use as if he was and as if he were?

    Is this sentence correct? If not why?

    He pretended as if he was a wise man.
    No, it's not correct, "pretended" doesn't work with "as if". It should be "He pretended that he was a wise man".

  3. #3
    diplomacy is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Current Location:
      • Saudi Arabia
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    240
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: If he was/if he were

    Why it doesn't work with pretend?
    Are there special words don't work with as is?

  4. #4
    davidbailey's Avatar
    davidbailey is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: If he was/if he were

    Hey Diplomacy,

    The simple answer seems to be that we use 'he were' in formal settings and 'he was' in informal expression. However, the use of 'were' seems to be the general choice if in doubt.

    Why?

    It has to do with the use of the subjunctive mood being used after words like 'if', 'as if', 'wish', and 'suppose' and we use the past subjunctive of the verb 'to be' instead of the the past simple.

    You can get a really in-depth explanation from the Grammar Girl if you really want to understand the idea behind verb moods. ;)


    Quote Originally Posted by diplomacy View Post
    When should I use as if he was and as if he were?
    Is this sentence correct? If not why?
    He pretended as if he was a wise man.
    Last edited by davidbailey; 07-Nov-2012 at 13:20. Reason: change name...;)
    Discover How To Learn English - Free Worksheets and Download PDFs at http://EXLenglish.com

  5. #5
    davidbailey's Avatar
    davidbailey is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: If he was/if he were

    So, for you sentence you could say things like:

    • If he were a wise man, he would have pretended to understand.
    • It was as if he were a wise man pretending to understand.
    • I wish he were a wise man and could understand us.
    • I suppose he would understand if he were as wise as he pretended to be.

    I'm just making these up as I go...but I hope you get the idea. ;)
    Last edited by davidbailey; 07-Nov-2012 at 13:19. Reason: add bullet points
    Discover How To Learn English - Free Worksheets and Download PDFs at http://EXLenglish.com

  6. #6
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,000
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: If he was/if he were

    Quote Originally Posted by diplomacy View Post
    Why it doesn't work with pretend?
    Are there special words don't work with as is?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,


    May I just add a few words to Mr. Bailey's excellent comments?

    I believe that these sentences are also possible:

    1. He acts as if he was/were wise, but he isn't. ( Americans would greatly appreciate your using the subjunctive "were.")

    2. He acted as if he was wise, but he wasn't. (In older English, the subjunctive was also used here. But today, most

    teachers suggest using the subjunctive only for present or future statements.)


    James

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •