smiled as if he had won

daruk

Senior Member
Hello forum gurus!

A. He talks as if he knew about it.

It is understood that as knew is in past tense, A means that it is not likely that he knows about it, unlike when knows is used.

Then, if we apply that logic to B,

B. He smiled as if he had won a lotto.

Then can't we say that He did not win a lotto ?
Like, had PP is used as some unreal or counterfactual subjunctive, whatever the right term is.

Why in A, knew is understood to be unreal, or counterfactual, and why in B it is not so?

In this forum, I learned that B doesn't imply or suggest that he won or not won a lotto.

Sorry for posting the same topic more than one time, but this is really confusing to a non-native.
Thank you for the patience.

• Glasguensis

Signal Modulation
They are both counterfactual. The first example is a simple “knew” because the hypothetical knowing would be concurrent with the talking. The second example uses a perfect form because the hypothetical winning would have to have occurred prior to the smiling.

Uncle Jack

Senior Member
Both "as if" clauses are hypothetical, using the past tense for something in the present and the past perfect for something in the past (you can also use the future in the past tense for something in the future). This generally means that the speaker does not think the "as if" statement is true, but it could mean that the speaker merely thinks it unlikely. If the speaker thinks that the statement may be true, they would probably use the ordinary tense for the situation (the present tense for something in the present, for example). However, this is not a common use of "as if", which is generally used for when a person appears to be lying or acting as something/someone they are not.

daruk

Senior Member
They are both counterfactual. The first example is a simple “knew” because the hypothetical knowing would be concurrent with the talking. The second example uses a perfect form because the hypothetical winning would have to have occurred prior to the smiling.

Thank you, Glasguensis!
This helped a lot.

daruk

Senior Member
Both "as if" clauses are hypothetical, using the past tense for something in the present and the past perfect for something in the past (you can also use the future in the past tense for something in the future). This generally means that the speaker does not think the "as if" statement is true, but it could mean that the speaker merely thinks it unlikely. If the speaker thinks that the statement may be true, they would probably use the ordinary tense for the situation (the present tense for something in the present, for example). However, this is not a common use of "as if", which is generally used for when a person appears to be lying or acting as something/someone they are not.

Thank you, Uncle!

This generally means that the speaker does not think the "as if" statement is true, but it could mean that the speaker merely thinks it unlikely.

.... This seems to be the point and helped me a lot.