I don't feel as if I have done very well in my coursework

ALEX1981X

Banned
Italian
Hi all :)

I'd need your opinion about this sentence

A) I don't feel as if I have done very well in my coursework

Source:
http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20131030035629AAivH8a

I'm wondering if the above could be rewritten,but keeping the same meaning, in the following way:

B) I don't feel as if I did well in my coursework

My problem is triggered by the fact that by putting a paste tense after "as if" it can be a "past subjunctive" (which is just like the plain simple past) and the sentence would become hyphotetical in the present thus changing completely the meaning of the sentence. It would become unclear in my view.

Am I correct? Should I stick with the present perfect in order to avoid to convey the other meaning?Thanks guys
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    For my money they work equally well relative to the given context and convey much the same meaning, one of uncertainty about one's level of achievement on the coursework.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    For my money they work equally well relative to the given context and convey much the same meaning, one of uncertainty about one's level of achievement on the coursework.
    Thanks Beryl, but do you agree that the one with just "as if I did" can have also another meaning, which is not "past" but "present"?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I don't think there's any diffence in meaning between the two versions. Sentence (A) with the perfect tense implies that you've only just handed in your coursework, whereas (B) with a simple past would refer to a longer period of elapsed time. But I agree with Beryl: they both convey the same level of relative uncertainty over the result.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    I don't think there's any diffence in meaning between the two versions. Sentence (A) with the perfect tense implies that you've only just handed in your coursework, whereas (B) with a simple past would refer to a longer period of elapsed time. But I agree with Beryl: they both convey the same level of relative uncertainty over the result.
    Thanks Donny.

    If I were to twist the sentence , would it be the same to say, "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam"?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    If I were to twist the sentence , would it be the same to say, "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam"?
    To me, that would imply that the results were already known. During the period that you're still waiting, I think you'd need to say " "I feel as if I won't have passed the exam".
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    To me, that would imply that the results were already known. During the period that you're still waiting, I think you'd need to say " "I feel as if I won't have passed the exam".
    Mmm.. Strange DonnyB but it can also have another meaning. I mean, according to your interpretation it means: (after knowing the results) I have the feelings of who didn't pass the exam but I passed the exam
    To me; "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam" is could be equal to "I'm not sure if I passed the exam and my feelings says so"

    It's just confusing stuff to me :eek: please enlighten me, thanks
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Well, to me, "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam" means I did (pass the exam) but it's as if I hadn't. Something is creating for me the hypothetical situation of not having passed the exam even though I did, or as you say I have the feelings of who didn't pass the exam but I passed the exam.

    I don't think using the simple past conveys the sense of "I'm not sure if I passed the exam and my feelings says so" because the results which will confirm or refute your feelings are still at this point a future event and that's why I would write the sentence using a future perfect.

    Other people may well disagree with my interpretation, however....:(
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi, Alex1981X.

    Yes, sentence B is ambiguous. But so is A. Unless I meant "as if" literally (e.g. = "the way I (would/might) feel if"), I would drop it:

    A') I don't feel I have done very well in my coursework.
    B') I don't feel that I did very well in my coursework.

    The difference now (to me) is that B' is likely to be about a particular occasion (or about particular occasions) and A' is about a summary of the (whole) past.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    I noticed that by putting a past tense after as if/as though is a "past subjuntive" so conveying that the comparison is unreal in the present (and not in the past past as the tense might express) thus it can be tricky when it comes to interpret the sentence

    http://www.grammaring.com/as-if-as-though

    Does anybody now if it really works this way guys?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I noticed that by putting a past tense after as if/as though is a "past subjuntive" so conveying that the comparison is unreal in the present (and not in the past past as the tense might express) thus it can be tricky when it comes to interpret the sentence

    http://www.grammaring.com/as-if-as-though

    Does anybody now if it really works this way guys?
    Yes, it really does work that way, Alex. I find that link sound.

    I feel as though I have done it very well - I have done it, and think I did it well.
    I feel as though I had done it very well - I have the same feeling that I would have if I had done it very well, but I may easily not have done it at all.

    I've made the feeling positive rather than negative, because not feeling that one hasn't done something is a complicated matter.

    Bear in mind, Alex, that I speak BE and that AE often treats these past tenses differently.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    Yes, it really does work that way, Alex. I find that link sound.

    I feel as though I have done it very well - I have done it, and think I did it well.
    I feel as though I had done it very well - I have the same feeling that I would have if I had done it very well, but I may easily not have done it at all.

    I've made the feeling positive rather than negative, because not feeling that one hasn't done something is a complicated matter.

    Bear in mind, Alex, that I speak BE and that AE often treats these past tenses differently.
    Thanks a lot Thomas. It's very helpful

    But what if I used a past tense after as if/as though?? Am I right in saying that it can be confused with a "past subjunctive" with present meaning?
    How do you natives deal with this tenses?

    On the other hand time I think that " I feel as if I did well yesterday " would avoid the ambiguity but I'm not sure what it means :confused:
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is where the AE/BE difference applies, I think, Alex.

    In BE I feel as if I did well yesterday would, to me, suggest that you did well yesterday. It would be quite a normal, oblique, way of saying I think I did well yesterday. I don't sense much unreality there.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    This is where the AE/BE difference applies, I think, Alex.

    In BE I feel as if I did well yesterday would, to me, suggest that you did well yesterday. It would be quite a normal, oblique, way of saying I think I did well yesterday. I don't sense much unreality there.
    Thanks Mr.T but I'm confused because if you say in BE that I feel as if I did well yesterday suggests that you did well yesterday, how come DonnyB wrote that "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam" means I did (pass the exam)? :confused: according to that link a past tense after "as if/as though" is used to convey an unreal or improbable situation in the present

    Guys, am I getting something wrong?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    As Thomas says in post #11, the problem we think you're encountering here is that it's difficult to use constructions such as "I feel as if" with a negative following it, because "I did, but I feel as if I didn't....(pass the exam)" clearly to me suggests that your feelings differ from what actually happened. So "I feel as if I didn't..." is at best ambiguous because on its own it could actually turn out to mean that your instinct now is that you've failed whereas the reality may turn out to be that you will have passed.

    My advice really would be to either stick to using "I feel as if..." with a positive verb following rather than a negative one, or to use an alternative such as "I suspect that..." which doesn't (in modern English) take a subjunctive.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    Yes DonnyB but above you wrote "I passed the exam, but I feel as if I didn't" thus it is clearly enough in order to convey that you indeed passed the exam.

    If one just utter "I feel as if I didn't pass the exam" wouldn't be clear at all without a greater context

    On the other hand "I feel as if I hadn't passed the exam" to me would imply that I passed the exam but I feel as though I hadn't... where "hadn't passed" would be in the subjunctive form

    I'm just trying to see a sort of pattern in order to memorize something:eek:
    What do you think?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    This goes back to what I put in post #6, it seems to me. ;)
    You could say: "I feel as if I won't have passed the exam" clearly suggests that the results are not yet known.
    But using the pluperfect needs the main verb to be in the past tense "I felt as if I hadn't passed the exam". To express that feeling in the present, the tense sequence would be "I feel as if I haven't passed the exam".

    Put simply, the construction "I feel as if" will tend to imply a hypothetical condition where your feelings differ from the reality - which can be past, present or future.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    This goes back to what I put in post #6, it seems to me. ;)
    You could say: "I feel as if I won't have passed the exam" clearly suggests that the results are not yet known.
    But using the pluperfect needs the main verb to be in the past tense "I felt as if I hadn't passed the exam". To express that feeling in the present, the tense sequence would be "I feel as if I haven't passed the exam".

    Put simply, the construction "I feel as if" will tend to imply a hypothetical condition where your feelings differ from the reality - which can be past, present or future.
    Well, but it's the contrary of what has been described by the web link I posted where the pluperfect indeed follows "I feel" which is simple present and it is used to express unreality in the past.

    From the link :

    The past perfect subjunctive after as if / as though is used to refer to an unreal past situation. If the situation is true, we use a real tense to express past time:

    He seems as if he hadn't slept for days. (it seems that he hasn't slept for days, but he (probably) has or we don't know whether he has or not)
    He seems as if he hasn't slept for days. (he hasn't slept for days)
    :confused:

     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "I feel as if I did well yesterday" clearly puts the (hypothetical) doing well in the past, not the present, but the ambiguity remains. The verb form did may be either indicative or subjunctive.

    Consider the sentence "He acted as if he had been my friend." To me, it clearly means he acted like a former friend, like someone who had been my friend. To say he acted like a friend, I would say "He acted as if he was my friend."

    But with the verb be, there is another possibility: "He acted as if he were my friend." This means he acted the way (I think) he would, were he my friend. This is of course what is called "irrealis", but it does not really state that he was not my friend. It just means I have chosen to emphasize the distinction between acting like a friend and actually being a friend.

    If you want to eliminate "irrealis" from the sentence about feeling well yesterday, just drop the "as if": "I feel I did well yesterday."
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, Alex. I certainly wouldn't agree with Donny when he says:
    [...]
    But using the pluperfect needs the main verb to be in the past tense "I felt as if I hadn't passed the exam". To express that feeling in the present, the tense sequence would be "I feel as if I haven't passed the exam".
    I could easily say 'I feel as if I hadn't passed the exam' - but I have.

    'I feel as if I haven't passed the exam' - is also possible and has a different meaning (you probably haven't).

    I'm afraid I disagree with the statement below, too.
    Put simply, the construction "I feel as if" will tend to imply a hypothetical condition where your feelings differ from the reality - which can be past, present or future.
    I think I feel as if... can suggest either likely or unlikely events, depending on the tenses deployed.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    "I feel as if I did well yesterday" clearly puts the (hypothetical) doing well in the past, not the present, but the ambiguity remains. The verb form did may be either indicative or subjunctive.

    Consider the sentence "He acted as if he had been my friend." To me, it clearly means he acted like a former friend, like someone who had been my friend. To say he acted like a friend, I would say "He acted as if he was my friend."

    But with the verb be, there is another possibility: "He acted as if he were my friend." This means he acted the way (I think) he would, were he my friend. This is of course what is called "irrealis", but it does not really state that he was not my friend. It just means I have chosen to emphasize the distinction between acting like a friend and actually being a friend.

    If you want to eliminate "irrealis" from the sentence about feeling well yesterday, just drop the "as if": "I feel I did well yesterday."
    Well thanks to all of you guys.
    Let's have a look if I got the gist of this structure :rolleyes:
    I read "He acted as if he was my friend " as not anything more than the version in the past of "He acts as if he is my friend; they're both indicative and imply that the guys behaves in such a way because he's indeed my friend.
    I suspect that many English native speakers might use "was" instead of "were" when it comes to express "irrealis" or unlikeness and this is what renders this structure sometimes difficult to interpret especially when there's not much context. At least it is difficult to me

    Do I get it right natives?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's easy where the verb after as if is to be, because of the difference between was (indicative) and were (subjunctive) in the first and third persons singular.

    With other verbs there's no difference, so in something like He acted as if he saw a ghost we can't tell if it's indicative or subjunctive.

    We could have recourse to things like He acted as though he were seeing a ghost, to make the subjunctive force clear.
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    It's easy where the verb after as if is to be, because of the difference between was (indicative) and were (subjunctive) in the first and third persons singular.

    With other verbs there's no difference, so in something like He acted as if he saw a ghost we can't tell if it's indicative or subjunctive.

    We could have recourse to things like He acted as though he were seeing a ghost, to make the subjunctive force clear.
    You're confirming what I asked in my post n.22. Was is "indicative" in that sentence. I got it

    Thanks for your precious contribution and thank you all for your help.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top