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  1. #1
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Talking As if he had /have....

    What is the difference between these sentences?

    1- He behaves as if he has done it all himself.
    2- He behaves as if he had done it all himself.

  2. #2
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    I don't think there is a difference in meaning though I don't think it's necessary to use "had done".

  3. #3
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg927 View Post
    I don't think there is a difference in meaning though I don't think it's necessary to use "had done".
    I think the second sentence is in subjunctive mood. Am I right?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    No. The first uses the present perfect and the second uses the past perfect.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    At least one author on usage (Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage, 1st Ed.) maintains that a sentence like "He behaves as if he had done it all himself" is a reduced version of "He behaves as he would behave if he had done it all himself."

    In other words, if he had done it all himself, he would behave in a certain way, namely, as he does. On that basis Follett proscribes the present tense, including the present perfect, in the "as if"-clause, and prescribes the subjunctive where applicable:

    "He behaves as if he were out of his mind."
    (He behaves as he would behave if he were out of his mind.)

    I generally shift to "as though" when I wish to use the present tense in the clause in question: "He behaves as though he has done it all himself"; "He behaves as though he's out of his mind." Follett does, however, point out that "though" means "if" in that construction!

    Informally, of course, there is always the "like" version.

  6. #6
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    PD, what do you think of the past perfect instead of the present perfect in this case? For some reason, both seem okay but I can't quite think of a similar situation where I would use both.

  7. #7
    Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    Hi, Andrew: I'd use the present perfect if I thought he really had done it all himself. Otherwise I'd use the past perfect. Ever since I read Follett on "as if," the past perfect or subjunctive has been my default choice in sentences like these, at least when writing. (In live speech, I'm as "guilty" as any other native speaker of using "like"-clauses.) If I used the present perfect, I would change "as if" to "as though."

  8. #8
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    I see. It makes more sense in my mind now. I admit I'm one of those native speakers who are not terribly good at the tenses.

  9. #9
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    At least one author on usage (Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage, 1st Ed.) maintains that a sentence like "He behaves as if he had done it all himself" is a reduced version of "He behaves as he would behave if he had done it all himself."

    In other words, if he had done it all himself, he would behave in a certain way, namely, as he does. On that basis Follett proscribes the present tense, including the present perfect, in the "as if"-clause, and prescribes the subjunctive where applicable:

    "He behaves as if he were out of his mind."
    (He behaves as he would behave if he were out of his mind.)

    I generally shift to "as though" when I wish to use the present tense in the clause in question: "He behaves as though he has done it all himself"; "He behaves as though he's out of his mind." Follett does, however, point out that "though" means "if" in that construction!

    Informally, of course, there is always the "like" version.
    Thanks everyone. So can I use my second sentence and be correct?

  10. #10
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: As if he had /have....

    Yes.

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