Sound as if + were / is

jihoon

Senior Member
korean
Here's a situation
I'm talking to one of my friends and he keeps complimenting another friend, jordan, while saying I'm not as good as him. In this situation, I made two a little different phrasing.

1. You are making it sound as if he is better than me.

It is just saying, but

2. You are making it sound as if he were better than me.

The saying I'm better than Jordan would more likely be phrased right after this sentence finished. It emphasizes that I'm not worse than Jordan.

Am I right to think this way?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Am I right to think this way?
    No.

    If you use "were" in that remark, you are using the past subjunctive. When you use the past subjunctive, the verb form highlights the idea that this remark is not really true. Jordan is not really better than you.

    If you use "is" after "if" in that remark, the verb form does not express the idea that you are talking about something that is not true. Your remark still means the same thing, but you use the present indicative rather than the past subjunctive in the remark.

    Remember that both sentences mean the same thing. You can use either one to express the same idea.
     

    jihoon

    Senior Member
    korean
    If I want to say I'm actually bettet than Jordan, I would say like this : "You are making it sound as if he were better than me, but I'm better than jordan in some ways like ~~." However, In case I admit he is better than me, I would more likely say like "You are making it sound as if he is better than me, and I think so. " I really do think each of 'were' and 'is' can be used with slightly different nuance.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I disagree, jihoon. "As if" makes it clear to me that you are talking about a hypothetical idea. It doesn't matter to me whether you use "is" or "were" after "as if." I prefer "were", but I've heard "is" used in similar remarks.

    Of course, you can believe whatever you want to about "were" and "is" in that sentence. :)
     
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