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D4. A kind gestureCartoon illustration

as if / as though

Helen and Paul were eating out at an expensive restaurant one evening. On the table opposite them sat an old lady who was eating alone. Paul noticed that the lady was looking over at him and smiling sadly.
    'Do you know her?' he asked his wife.
    'No, I don't recognise her, but she looks as if she knows you.'
Paul and Helen carried on eating their meal, but the next time Paul looked in that direction, the woman was still looking at him. She looked lonely. After a while he decided to go over and say hello to her because she looked as though she wanted someone to talk to.
    'Hi, there!' he said, 'Are you enjoying your meal?'
    'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'And please excuse me for staring at you but you look exactly like my son. He has gone to live in Australia. That's why I was feeling a bit sad. I always used to eat in here with him.'
    'I'm sorry to hear that.' replied Paul. ' It sounds as if you miss him a lot.'
    'Oh, I do!' answered the old lady. ' Can I ask you a favour? When I'm leaving the restaurant could you call out 'Goodbye, mum!' to me? It would make me so happy!'
    'Yes, of course!' agreed Paul. ' No trouble at all!'
    So he went back to his own table and continued his meal. A few minutes later, as the old lady was leaving the restaurant, he called out 'Goodbye, mum!' and she waved happily back at him.
    When Paul called for his bill, he noticed that the bill was double what it was normally and it included a lot of food an expensive bottle of wine which they hadn't ordered. He called the waiter over to the table to sort out the problem.
    'Excuse me, but there seems to be some mistake with the bill. It looks as if you've given us the wrong one.'
    'No, sir.' replied the waiter, 'No mistake. Your mother said you'd pay for her.'

Grammar: as if / as though + verb clause

To describe how somebody or something appears to be, you can use these forms:

You look as if you've had a hard day.
You look as though you've been in the rain.

Compare the form with look + adjective.
You look hungry.
You look as though you need something to eat.

You can also use the structure with these other forms: It seems / It sounds / It tastes / It feels.
It seems as if we were right all along.
It sounds as though your car has a problem with the engine.
It felt as if spring were coming.

Match the broken sentences.

1. It smells as though... A. we've had the worst of the weather now.
2. From the sky, it looks as if... B. you've been walking in the wind.
3. Although I don't know him well, it seems as if... C. I could sleep for a week.
4. Your hair looks as though... D. Mark's a nice enough person.
5. I'm so tired. I feel as if... E. you've been smoking non-stop in here.

Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.

    6.  What's the matter with you? You feel / smell / look as though you've seen a ghost!
    7.  What's for lunch? I sound / feel / seem as if I could eat a horse.
    8. Did you see Amy's face? She looked / smelt / tasted as if she wanted to kill Steve.
    9. Oh no! It feels / sounds / smells as though our neighbours have been cooking cabbage again.
    10. From her tone of voice, it feels /  sounds / looks as if Clare's losing patience with her class.

Vocabulary exercises

Choose the correct verb to complete these sentences.

waved          stared          missed          recognized         sorted out

1. When I was at university I __________ my friends from school.
2. My computer was behaving strangely but I think I've __________  the problem now.
3. Kate __________  her son goodbye as the train left the station.
4. When I met Simon again after five years I only __________  him by his voice.
5. When he told me he was getting married I __________  at him in amazement.

There is one mistake in each of these sentences. Can you find them and correct them?

6. Can I ask you the favour?
7. There seem to be some mistake.
8. I'm sorry of hear that.
9.  You look like exactly my son.
10. Let's call at the bill, now.