April 17, 2008

As If

With verbs we usually use adverbs to describe the ‘action of the verb.
• He walks unsteadily.
• She shouted angrily.
We can also use a clause introduced by as if or as though.
• He walks as if he is drunk.
• She shouted as though she was angry.
• He opened his lips as if he wanted to say something.
• He fought as if his life was in danger.
• The young man talks as though he knew all about it.
• He behaves as if he owned the place.
• She ordered me about as though I were her servants.

Compare:
He walks as if / as though he is drunk. (He is drunk, judging from the way he walks.)
He walks as if/ as though he was drunk.
(But he isn’t drunk or probably isn’t drunk or we don’t know whether he drunk.)

Here the past tense after as if does not indicate past time; it indicates present unreality or doubt. In unreal comparison like this, were can be used in place of was.

With certain verbs we use adjective to describe the subject (not the action of the verb). These verbs include Look, Sound, Feel, Smell and Taste.

• He looks tired. (He seems tired by expression that it is right.)
• His explanation sounds right. (It gives the impression that it is right.)
• The ground feels rough.
• The flower smells sweet.
• The curry tastes hot.

We can also use an as if / as though clause:
• He looks as if he is going to be ill.
• You sound as though you are an insurance agent.
• I feel as if I’m going to faint.
• Her head felt as if it were / was splitting.
• He smelt as though he hadn’t washed for ages.
• The cake tastes as it is burnt.

We can also use the structure it look/ sounds. Etc+ as if/ as though…:
• It looks as if / though it’s going to be a fine day.
• It sounds to me as if there’s a tap running somewhere.
(I think I can hear water running from a tap)
* It smells as though fish is cooking in a neighbor’s kitchen.
* It does not look to me as if we shall get there in time.

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