Levin enquires Oblonsky about Kitty:

Oblonsky: Kitty will be seeing Dolly at Ergoshovo in the summer.

Levin: You could...Oh, yes, as if I had time in the summer. And I've got extra land at Kashin this year for the haymaking.

What's the purpose of "As if" here?

2 Answers 2


'As if' when used by itself is a newish phrase to indicate 'this will never happen'. It may be a short form of something like 'As if I had the (time, desire, willpower, or resources) to do what you just suggested.'

In your example Levin appears to start with one thought 'You could...' appears to the start of a suggestion to Oblonsky about whatever they were talking about prior to this, but then self interrupts with a change of topic about a lack of time Levin has to go to Ergoshovo during the summer, even though Leven has extra land that would allow doing it (not sure about this last part; including more text prior to your the text you use in your question helps with understanding what they are talking about. I also note that the author you are reading has somewhat quirky characters using spoken (conversational) English which is usually much less formal than written English).

  • I would understand it to mean that the 'extra land' requiring haymaking will leave him with even less time to go to Ergoshovo. Sep 8, 2021 at 7:47
  • @KateBunting True, that could be the meaning, or maybe his hay fields are near Ergoshovo, making the trip more convenient, but he still can't visit because he has no time. Thus my request for the OP to include more text so answers can be better. Sep 8, 2021 at 7:54

According to Merriam-Webster:

—used to say that something is not true, not possible, will not happen, etc.

In your example, "as if" is used to suggest that Levin has no time to do whatever's being discussed during the summer. A couple of examples to bring clarity:

Maybe you could ask John?

As if he'd tell me anything

It was as if he was the smartest being on Earth.

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