I am having a problem identifing which gramatical function as if (as though, like) has

As far as I know

  • After linking verbs, we have noun/ noun phrase/ noun clause and adjective/ adjective phrase which act as subjective complement.
  • "As if" is conjunction introducing subordinating clause, or adverbial clause

And then, the sentences I have just read (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/vi/grammar/british-grammar/as-if-and-as-though) leaves me confused.

The floods were rising and it was as if it was the end of the world.

It looks as if they’ve had a shock.

I cannot say "it looks" in isolation. So, I think of why an subordinating clause stand right behind linking verbs, where it has to be a noun or adj. Or I have made a mistake while analyzing those structures

It V[looks] ADV CLAUSE[(as if) (conjunction) + (they’ve had a shock) (clause)].

Please let me know as simple as posible because my language is not good enough yet. Thank you for any help.

  • 2
    It's more complicated than that. Both as and if have separate uses, and their combination has its own, as well. You need special verbs (not "linking verbs" - that phrase is just handwaving) that are either auxiliary like be or perceptual, like seem, look, sound. The as if complex conjunction introduces a tensed clause, and in this construction one may substitute like for as if. May 3 at 18:00
  • @JohnLawler "You need special verbs . . . that are either auxiliary like be or perceptual, like seem, look, sound." <-- I don't quite follow this. E.g.: "He ran the last mile as if his life depended on it." May 3 at 23:10
  • In the constructions in the example, it looks as if and it is as if are what is being referred to. They have their own syntax. In your example, it works differently - no verb, no subject, just a manner/means adverbial clause. May 4 at 1:52
  • I'd appreciate your help, thank you both May 7 at 2:12


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