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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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      • Ukrainian
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      • Ukraine
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    • Join Date: Apr 2011
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    #1

    As if/though

    When we talk about things which we know are not true, we can use a past tense with a present meaning after as if/though. This emphasises the meaning of unreality.
    - She looks as if she is rich. (Perhaps she is.)
    - He talks as if he was rich. (But he is definitely not.)

    Michael Swan "Practical English Usage" (3rd edition).

    Questions:
    1. Do the above sentences have the meaning of unreality when the whole situation is happening in the past? (For example: She looked as if she was rich.)
    2. Is there any means to emphasise the meaning of unreality in case the answer to the first question is "No, they do not have the meaning of unreality in the past."?

    Thanks.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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      • England
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    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #2

    Re: As if/though

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    1. Do the above sentences have the meaning of unreality when the whole situation is happening in the past? (For example: She looked as if she was rich )Not necessarily.

    2. Is there any means to emphasise the meaning of unreality in case the answer to the first question is "No, they do not have the meaning of unreality in the past."? She looked as if she were rich . The subjunctive were gives the idea of unreality. Unfortunately, many native speakers do not use it; even if it is used, it is different from the indicative form was only in the first and third person singular.
    .
    Even in the present, the situation is not clear; see: She looks as if she is sick??? conditional or factual?

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