Discussion:
As if he was a child
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a***@gmail.com
2019-11-27 03:33:47 UTC
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1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.

Is that sentence correct?

Does it mean

a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.

or:

b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.

Gratefully,
Navi
Jack
2019-11-27 04:12:40 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
In 1), I would use '...as if he were a child...'.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with a) and b). The writer intends
to link 'feeling foolish' to 'as if he were a child'. I think the
intended meaning would be the same if the words
David Kleinecke
2019-11-27 04:15:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
Gratefully,
Navi
IMO (a).

As a speaker of USE - "as if he were"
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2019-11-27 06:42:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
Gratefully,
Navi
IMO (a).
As a speaker of USE
and many speakers of British English
Post by David Kleinecke
- "as if he were"
It's a counterfactual. Maybe this isn't the right time to explain what
that means, as it doesn't seem to be what navi is asking about, but ...

"If he was a child when he first played that game ... " would be OK, as
it refers to something that might be true.

"If he were a child ... " refers to a possibility the speaker knows not
to be a fact.
--
athel
a***@gmail.com
2019-11-27 10:06:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
Gratefully,
Navi
IMO (a).
As a speaker of USE
and many speakers of British English
Post by David Kleinecke
- "as if he were"
It's a counterfactual. Maybe this isn't the right time to explain what
that means, as it doesn't seem to be what navi is asking about, but ...
"If he was a child when he first played that game ... " would be OK, as
it refers to something that might be true.
"If he were a child ... " refers to a possibility the speaker knows not
to be a fact.
--
athel
Thank you all very much,

Point taken. 'Were" it is.

But are we talking about a special kind of feeling foolish here? That is
why the sentence seems a bit strange to me.

2) He was talking as if he were a king.
That is a way of walking.

3) He was giving orders, as if he were the boss.
Here we don't have a special kind of giving orders. The fact that he was giving
orders was what made one think he took himself for the boss.

But in my original sentence we have a comma.

1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.

Are we talking about a special way of feeling foolish? I think that is the case.
But the sentence wouldn't flow well without the comma. The last part has been
added as an afterthought of sorts.

Gratefully,
Navi
Jerry Friedman
2019-11-27 22:22:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
Gratefully,
Navi
IMO (a).
As a speaker of USE - "as if he were"
I suspect you and I may be in the minority there.
--
Jerry Friedman
Ken Blake
2019-11-28 00:05:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
Gratefully,
Navi
IMO (a).
As a speaker of USE - "as if he were"
I suspect you and I may be in the minority there.
Maybe, but I'm with you both.
--
Ken
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-27 14:45:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He was feeling foolish, as if he was a child playing a game he didn't
quite understand.
So you're saying that a child can play a game they don't understand ...
and in the process they feel foolish?

It feels like one of your examples where you read something and changed
a few words for no reason at all, yielding word salad.
Post by a***@gmail.com
Is that sentence correct?
Does it mean
a) He was feeling foolish and he was feeling as if he was a child playing a game
he didn't quite understand.
b) As if he was a child playing a game he didn't quite understand, he was
feeling foolish.
(a), but that is not interpretable.
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