"as if" the men ... would scream in panic

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joh2001smile

Senior Member
Chinese
This is from a Mutiny On The Bounty. According to the context, Mr. Bligh spoke to his new servant lad who had been scared terribly when their ship was undergoing a tough storm. Does the second "as if" sentence mean the men were screaming but they were not really terrified and it was just a way they kept busy about their tasks?
Context:
"***Know you nothing of the sea yet?’ He shook his head and stared at me as if I was a terrible fool and he was a martyr to have to suffer me. ‘As if the men on this ship,’ he continued then, ‘on my ship, would scream in panic. They are kept busy about their tasks.
 
  • Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The "as if" clause may be used on its own as a sort of exclamation.

    "As if the men on this ship, on my ship, would scream in panic" means that the servant acted in such a manner as to suggest that the crew were not very brave, and that the captain thinks such a notion--that is, that his crew are not brave--is ridiculous.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    This is from a Mutiny On The Bounty. According to the context, Mr. Bligh spoke to his new servant lad who had been scared terribly when their ship was undergoing a tough storm. Does the second "as if" sentence mean the men were screaming but they were not really terrified and it was just a way they kept busy about their tasks?
    Context:
    "***Know you nothing of the sea yet?’ He shook his head and stared at me as if I was a terrible fool and he was a martyr to have to suffer me. ‘As if the men on this ship,’ he continued then, ‘on my ship, would scream in panic. They are kept busy about their tasks.
    "As if" means "no way" in this context. In other words, there's no way that his men would scream. They're tough seamen who simply go about their tasks in the teeth of the storm.

    This "as if" phrase can undoubtedly be grammatically explained by someone better than I but in terms of use, it almost invariably means "no way". I don't know whether children in the school yard still use it but you used to hear this kind of conversation among children:

    A: "My Dad can beat up your Dad!"
    B: "As if!"
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "As if" means "no way" in this context. In other words, there's no way that his men would scream. They're tough seamen who simply go about their tasks in the teeth of the storm.

    This "as if" phrase can undoubtedly be grammatically explained by someone better than I but in terms of use, it almost invariably means "no way". I don't know whether children in the school yard still use it but you used to hear this kind of conversation among children:

    A: "My Dad can beat up your Dad!"
    B: "As if!"
    Good explanation. I think we agree.
     

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "As if" means "no way" in this context. In other words, there's no way that his men would scream. They're tough seamen who simply go about their tasks in the teeth of the storm.

    This "as if" phrase can undoubtedly be grammatically explained by someone better than I but in terms of use, it almost invariably means "no way". I don't know whether children in the school yard still use it but you used to hear this kind of conversation among children:

    A: "My Dad can beat up your Dad!"
    B: "As if!"
    Dimcl,
    Thank you. I am fully clear now. This is the explanation I didn't see in the dictionaries but it really helps.
     
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