He dressed as if a woman (Abridged clause).

HifaMo

Senior Member
Moroccan Arabic
Hi,

My textbook states:
"An adverbial clause can be abridged by the omission of the subject and the copula.
For example; he dressed as if a woman."

I am confused by the sentence above because I have learnt that 'as if' is followed by a clause, and 'like' is followed by a simple word or phrase.

So the sentence should be:
He dressed like a woman.

Correct me, please.

Thanks.
 
  • dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    He dressed as if a woman. -- this seems plain wrong to me. Perhaps it's permissible in colloquial speech (I find that unlikely), but under any other circumstances you'd hear and say 'He dressed as if he was a woman' or 'He dressed as a woman' - meaning 'He disguised himself as a woman'.
     
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    HifaMo

    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    Thanks, dreamlike.

    What about the other sentence?
    He dressed like a woman.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Marhaban, Hifa.

    In the case of your sentence, I'm sure there can't be any ambiguity.
    With other subjects and/or predicates instead, I'd personally be in favour of "... like a N":

    1. "He's speaking as a surgeon" (He is an old pal of mine and a surgeon, but today he's trying to convince me that I had better undergo surgery)
    2. "He's speaking like a surgeon" (He is not a surgeon but his way of speaking reminds me that of surgeons)

    GS
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I suppose that's the most concise and therefore the best way of saying it. :thumbsup:
    It is the best way of saying it, we all say it, but it is of course grammatically incorrect.;) " He dressed as a woman" is how we should say/write it (but we don't, often...).:)

    He dressed as if a woman has a very old-fashioned ring to it.;) I can't imagine anyone saying it these days.

    PS. He dressed as if she was a woman
    I don't like at all. ....as if I was is one of my pet hates which has, unfortunately, become common usage. I use the subjunctive ..as if I were. I know it's old hat, but I really can't stand it this use of was. .:)
     

    HifaMo

    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    1. "He's speaking as a surgeon" (He is an old pal of mine and a surgeon, but tuday he's trying to convince me that I had better undergo surgery)
    He dressed as a woman = he wore a skirt, blouse, makeup, etc.
    Marhaban,Giorgio Spizzi.
    Thanks, Keith Bradford, for your reply.

    "The proper way to differentiate between like and as is to use like when no verb follows. If the clause that comes next includes a verb, then you should use as."
    Grammar Girl, Like Versus As.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    He dressed as a woman = he wore a skirt, blouse, makeup, etc.
    He dressed like a woman = he wore clothes in light fabrics, bright colours, etc.
    He dressed as if a woman :cross:
    Keith, that sentence isn't incorrect, in my opinion. It's simply old-fashioned.;) I also disagree with the distinction you make between the meaning of the other two sentences. He dressed like a woman and he dressed as a woman (would) to me mean exactly the same thing (women's clothes, make-up etc.). Quite apart from the fact that men wear light fabrics and bright colours as well: I can see nothing "female" about that (I am a woman, by the way), although my conservative elderly father would certainly have somethiong to say about it, I'm sure.:)
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    He dressed as a woman --- it was his purpose for him to dress as a woman. He disguised himself as a woman.
    He dress like a w woman --- he dressed himself to look as though a woman. -- for no apparent reason, though.


    That's how I see it, anyway.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I also disagree with the distinction you make between the meaning of the other two sentences. He dressed like a woman and he dressed as a woman (would) to me mean exactly the same thing (women's clothes, make-up etc.). Quite apart from the fact that men wear light fabrics and bright colours as well:
    Let me give you an example of the difference you might agree with:
    He cooked as a chef. When he was working, he really was a chef.
    He cooked like a chef. He cooked as well as a chef even though he did not even pretend to be one.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I too see a distinction between he dressed like - or as - a woman.

    He dressed as a woman: he was an actor playing a female part or he wanted to disguise himself as a woman.
    He dressed like a woman: at least some of his clothing, or his way of wearing it, recalled the way a woman dresses, whatever his intentions.
     
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