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Tenses after “as if”

What is the difference of the following sentences?

  • I still remember it as if it was yesterday.
  • I still remember it as if it were yesterday.
  • I still remember it as if it had been yesterday.
  • I still remember it as if it happened yesterday.
  • I still remember it as if it had happened yesterday.

Which one would you rather use when you look back at your life? (So you look back at events that might be years ago.)

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, RegDwigнt Oct 28 '12 at 17:47

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It might depend on exactly which part of your life you're looking back on, since obviously your entire past life does in fact include whatever happened yesterday. –  FumbleFingers Oct 28 '12 at 17:24
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3 and 5 use the pluperfect, and would be better attached to "I still remembered it" –  Henry Oct 28 '12 at 17:33
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1 Answer 1

The first two are alternative ways of saying the same thing, with the second being a little more formal. The third and the fifth have an odd sequence of tenses, because had in the if clause requires the past tense in the main clause, with a consequent change of yesterday to the day before. Happened tends to refer to a single event, whereas the verb be would be appropriate if you were looking back at an extended period of your life.

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