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[SOLVED] "As if" and "it's like"

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Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bilgeakbas" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387365">callmevilg</a>
Joined: 26.06.2018
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Hello guys! I was wondering "Can 'as if' be counted as 'it's like'?" Are these phrases the same? Or close but not same? Thanks in advance for replies.

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

They can be similar. Can we get some context on 'as if'?

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bilgeakbas" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387365">callmevilg</a>
Joined: 26.06.2018

Actual sentence is that: "It's like you're the only one here."
Could we use "as if" instead of "it's like" in this?

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

In this context, absolutely.

"It's as if you're the only one here" is exactly equivalent to "It's like you're the only one here."

Feel free to leave the post open to get feedback from others also.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019

Yes, it's just like what BreezyDay said, these are the same.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bilgeakbas" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387365">callmevilg</a>
Joined: 26.06.2018

Oh, thank you so much! I'm still trying to improve my language skills, especially I'm focused on English. But there are a lot of things I don't know, obviously. Sometimes I need help, that's why native English speakers help me a lot. Thanks again!

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Your English is excellent. You sound completely fluent! Wink smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bilgeakbas" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387365">callmevilg</a>
Joined: 26.06.2018

Oh, you're so kind. Thank you. I'd really like to speak fluently in English, but I think I'm quite far from this. How well can a high school student be about English? I know enough to survive in any different country, but not enough for me. So practising is very important. And I have no occasion to practise in the city where I live (I'm talking about speaking practise) That's why I'm here, maybe. New vocabulary, every day. Sounds good;)

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

We're happy to help!

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/israelwu" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1420592">IsraelWu</a>
Joined: 04.05.2019
BreezyDay написал(а):

In this context, absolutely.

"It's as if you're the only one here" is exactly equivalent to "It's like you're the only one here."

I agree, in this context, but not always. I think I could build a sentence with the same difference and two (at least implied) different meanings.
Say: "It's as if I were the only one here ( but I can feel about a dozen men waiting behind the columns)". "(The ballroom is half full but) it's like I were the only one here". It seems to me that in the first sentence the change wouldn't fit at all. In the second sentence I think this choice of words points to some kind of "charm" while the change would rather point to the thoughts of the speaker being distracted. "

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019

I’m not sure if I understand what you’re saying about charm/being distracted, but the phrases are also interchangeable in the examples you gave. There is no difference in meaning. In both cases, the speaker feels as though they’re alone even though they may not be.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019

I should also add that the main difference between these phrases is that “as if” is slightly more formal and poetic, whereas “like” is more casual.

As a native speaker, I would use “like” more often when speaking, but would use “as if” in a more formal setting or when trying to make something sound a bit more beautiful and poetic.

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

Actually I don't use the subjunctive (which is the only irrealis mood in standard English) after "like" but I sometimes do use it after "as if". I would never say or write a sentence containing "it's like I were the only one", it would have to have "as if" instead of "like".

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bilgeakbas" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387365">callmevilg</a>
Joined: 26.06.2018

Thank y'all guys!

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/sandring" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1263066">sandring</a>
Joined: 18.10.2015

The difference between the two is in style. "It's like" is about conversations, "as if" is about writing and a more formal style.

After "It's like" you use normal tenses.
- You look so pale. It's like you haven't had enough sleep (you're unwell, you're going to pass out etc) And it always starts a new sentence.

"As if" is always part of the previous sentence. It requires the Conditional Mood (Past Perfect\Past Simple forms to denote unreality)

-She looks (looked) so pale as if she hadn't had enough sleep/ she were unwell, she were going to pass out.
(Modern standards allow you to say "she was" but your academicians will be impressed with "were" for all the personal pronouns)

Tom calls it the Subjunctive Mood but it's a matter of theoretical grammar and different schools approach. In practice, it changes nothing. Just linguistic squabbles. Regular smile

Senior Member
<a href="/en/translator/israelwu" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1420592">IsraelWu</a>
Joined: 04.05.2019

I really don't want to take "head on" three native speakers. I just "feel" some slight difference between "as if" and "like". Say "He treated him like a brother". We know they aren't brothers but the "like" makes it so and it's kind of "boundless" bond. while in my eyes (ears) "He treated him as if he was his brother" sounds to me like ".ltd" promise. "As if" sounds to me "but it's not really so. There could come a situation/a time when it will change". Of course, with "like" it may come too but with "as if" I feel it a priori as a conditional. If the three of you don't feel it it's probably my fault due to the influence of Hebrew. Just forget it.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019

The difference you feel is probably due to the difference in tone, as I described above - one is more formal. But there’s no difference in meaning.

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

"As if" followed by a subjunctive does tend to suggest something unreal; "as if" followed by an indicative verb usually doesn't.

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