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I want to know if there's any difference in meaning between the two sentences below:

"I pretended like it was a small confusion." "I pretended that it was a small confusion."

I'm not a native speaker, but both somehow sound correct. However, I can't really pin down the difference, although I feel there is one.

  • The use of like would be correct in this sentence: I pretended just like you did. It could even be expanded to cover both uses: [I pretended] that [it was a small matter] [just like you did]. – Jason Bassford Dec 30 '18 at 23:49
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The first sentence is incorrect because pretend and like here both mean that something seems to be a small confusion. So instead of using words that have the same meaning twice, you can just use pretend (that) like you did in the second sentence. However, in modern usage like can be thrown in to signify some uncertainity and it is often just used as a catchphrase. Note that using that is optional, you could just as well leave it out.

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