I received a spam mail with the following text:

That brief clip can not only show you the reality, but it'll demonstrate how a large number of honest, normal men as if you are fighting back again and reclaiming their strength.

Is it possible to use as if you like this? Or is it just another example of bad language in spam?

I am missing a verb after it - are fighting back again belongs to normal men and not to you.

I would rather use

normal men as you are fighting back again...


normal men like you are fighting back again...

I understand the usage of as if in the context with a following verb, like

You are stuffing yourself with the cake as if you had not eaten for three days.

  • 1
    As a native I instinctively know which of those is right & which is wrong [the spam is wrong, so is 'men as you'; the others are right] but I haven't the faintest idea how I know that. Looking forward to good answers. Jul 4 '18 at 9:03
  • 1
    Honestly, I couldn't make that call. I'm happy to see it here. If others are too, then all well & good. Jul 4 '18 at 9:32
  • As you surmise it's poorly worded advertising spam using as if you to mean like you. As if you belongs in different constructions such as: Act as if you mean it. Jul 4 '18 at 10:12

The spam is not grammatically correct. "As if" requires* a complete clause with a subjunctive verb. If the sentence continues after the "as if" construct, the subjunctive clause must be offset with commas.

*: There are exceptions, where you can elide certain words, but this doesn't fit the rule for that, which is as follows:

If the subject of the subjunctive clause is the same as that of the outer clause, and either the verb is a participle (e.g. "she was concentrating") or the clause is a copula-predicate construction (e.g. "he was tired"), then you may elide the subject and the copula (our examples might become "She was quiet, as if [she were] concentrating" and "he slumped, as if [he were] tired", respectively).

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