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Thread: as if

  1. Senior Member
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    as if


    1- He looks as if he knew the answer = (He doesn't know the answer).

    2- He looks as if he knows the answer = (We don't know whether he knows the answer or not).

    3- He looked as if he knew the answer = (The meaning of this sentence (whether he knew the answer or not) can only be understood from the context, it may be the back shift both of the sentences 1 and 2).

    4- I was taught that we couldn't use a past perfect for a past unreal comparison. That is;

    -She looked as if she was rich, but she wasn’t. (NOT … as if she had been rich).

    However, I have been searching for this structure, and I have seen people use 'past perfect tense' in this structure. I don't know whom to believe. For this reason, I am asking if past perfect tense is used or not. For example;

    -She acts as if/as though nothing had changed between us, but everything has changed.

    -She acted as if/as though nothing had changed between us, but everything had changed.

    I am sure #1 and 2# are OK but not sure #3 and #4. Could you please explain to me?


  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
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    Re: as if

    To me, she looked as if she had been rich suggests that she was no longer rich at that time, but there were signs of earlier wealth- maybe she was wearing expensive clothes that were worn and a bit shabby, etc.


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