Unit 100 Manner clauses

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Main points

* You use manner clauses to talk about how something is done.

* Manner clauses are introduced by conjunctions such as `as’, `as if’, `as though’, or `like’.

* A manner clause needs a main clause to make a complete sentence. The manner clause always comes after the main clause.

1 When you want to say how someone does something, or how something is done, you use `as’.
He behaves as he does, because his father was really cruel to him.
The bricks are still made as they were in Roman times.

You often use `just’, `exactly’, or `precisely’ in front of `as’ for emphasis.
It swims on the sea floor just as its ancestors did.
I like the freedom to plan my day exactly as I want.
Everything was going precisely as she had planned.

2 When you want to indicate that the information in the manner clause might not be true, or is definitely not true, you use `as if’ or `as though’.
Almost as if she’d read his thought, she straightened her back and returned to her seat.
Just act as though everything’s normal.

After `as if’ or `as though’, you often use a past tense even when you are talking about the present, to emphasize that the information in the manner clause is not true. In formal English, you use `were’ instead of `was’.
You talk about him as if he were dead.
It is Malcolm’s 37th birthday, but he and his mother both behave as if he were 7.

3 You also use `the way (that)’, `in a way (that)’, or `in the way (that)’ to talk about how someone does something, or how something is done.
I was never allowed to sing the way I wanted to.
They did it in a way that I had never seen before.
We make it move in the way that we want it to.

4 You can use `how’ in questions and reported questions to talk about the method used to do something, and sometimes to indicate your surprise that it was possible to do it.
`How did he get in?’ – `He broke a window.’
I wondered how he could afford a new car.
See also Unit 68 for more information on `..as if..’ and `..as though..’

Sometimes, you can use `how’ to talk about the manner in which someone does something.
I watched how he did it, then tried to copy him.
Tell me how he reacted when he saw you.