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When we want to write or say about something general as in the following, which sentence makes more sense over the other? And what could be the differences?

When you pray to God, pray in a way as though he watches/sees you.
When you pray to God, pray in a way as though he is watching/seeing you.

When you pray to God, pray as if you see him.
When you pray to God, pray as if you are seeing him.

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do you mean "watch/see"? –  Double AA May 10 '12 at 6:49
    
The constructions in your title make a lot more sense than the sentences in the actual question text. In the title he is seeing you. In the question you are seeing him. 'Him seeing you' seems to match a wider range of accepted religious beliefs I think. –  Jim May 10 '12 at 6:58
    
Please edit your Q. per above comments. –  Kris May 10 '12 at 7:00
1  
Possible duplicate? –  J.R. May 10 '12 at 9:28
    

1 Answer 1

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See is one of the sensory verbs that is generally not used in the continuous form. So in each of the following pairs the first is grammatical and the second is not:

  • I see a cat. I am seeing a cat.
  • I hear the phone. I am hearing the phone.
  • I smelled cheese. I was smelling cheese.

Commonly, such sensory verbs are used with can: I can see a cat, I could smell cheese, etc.

Watch can take with both verb forms, with the continuous form used for actions in progress.

On this basis, your sentences read best as:

  • When you pray to God, pray (in a way) as though he can see you.
  • When you pray to God, pray in a way as though he is watching you.

  • When you pray to God, pray as if you can see him.

  • When you pray to God, pray as if you are watching him.
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I tend to use ...as if/though ... were... (not was) exclusively myself. “Pray as if he were watching.” –  tchrist May 10 '12 at 11:34
    
It is probably worth mentioning (for the OP) that 'seeing' can be used in the sense of visiting ~ "I am seeing the doctor in the morning", and 'smelling' can be used for the act of testing the smell of something ~ "she was smelling different perfumes at the counter". –  Roaring Fish May 10 '12 at 15:49
    
I had to chuckle at I could smell cheese. Who cut the cheese? –  J.R. May 10 '12 at 17:48

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