8.2.2. The subjunctive mood of "as if"
"As if" ( or "as though" ) makes the subordinate clause which uses the subjunctive mood.
The meaning of time is subordinate to the verb of the main clause, that is, the past subjunctive mood expresses the same time between the two clauses, but the subjunctive past perfect expresses the anterior past to the main clause. See the following examples.
a. She looks as if she were ill.
b. She looked as if she were ill.
The past subjunctive mood of (18a) expresses present unreal but this of (18b) expresses past unreal since the other verb is the past tense. The next examples are the same.
a. I feel as if my heart were bursting.
b. She treated me as if I was her son.
The past subjunctive mood of (19a) expresses the present but that of (19b) expresses the past.
The next examples use the subjunctive past perfect.
a. She looks as if she had been ill.
b. She looked as if she had been ill.
The subjunctive past perfect of (20a) expresses anterior to the present but that of (20b) expresses anterior to the past. The next examples are the same.
a. He looks happy as if nothing had occurred.
b. She acted as if she had never met me before.
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