Please take a look at the following quotation:

My view is that multiculturalism was ALWAYS the wrong policy. It's the wrong policy because it promotes all foreign cultures while simultaneously denigrating/diluting/replacing the native culture as if it is somehow inferior.

I'm wondering why the author used the simple present after as if. If I were to say the same thing in my language I would use the subjunctive to convey the idea of an hypothetical situation lest it be regarded as an acknowledgement. How about in English? What would be your suggestion?


Well, I think the simple answer is that the author probably made a mistake grammatically. Instead of as if it is somehow inferior, it should be as if it were somehow inferior. In casual English, it's not considered a big error. Frankly, I think a lot of native English speakers don't even know to use were instead of is for hypothetical situations -- or they know but choose not to follow the rule.

The author also switches tense between the first and second sentences, and the slashes separating the three verbs is kind of goofy, too. I don't think s/he is necessarily the best source for grammatical greatness.

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Yes, to state a contrary-to-fact (irrealis) situation, native speakers would say as if it were or as if it was. The former is more formal (and sometimes taught as the only correct form). The thing that signals the irrealis here is the use of a past tense, whether were or was.

Another example of using as if it was for an irrealis is

Live Each Day As If It Was Your Last.

It doesn't matter whether Steve Jobs is remembering the quote correctly: the very fact that the saying can be written as As if it was shows that it's an acceptable form in today's English...

However, if one is not sure whether something is contrary-to-fact, you use the present tense here. See the ELU question He walks as if he is drunk.

And the Forbes quote would be

Live Each Day As If It Is Your Last

because you are not sure whether each day is your last or not.

For a more thorough answer see ELU's Behave as if it was or it were.

However the lady in the original question sounds like she's absolutely sure that what follows as if is contrary-to-fact (in fact, she insists that it's not). So she does a disservice to her own argument to use is here. But native speakers are using the irrealis forms less and less these days. Language is always changing. Not all dialects of Italian use the pasato remoto (a certain past tense form) in everyday speech.

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