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Quick grammar question - "felt like"

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Hi everyone, is the below grammatically correct?

"He felt like he was going to throw up."

Or should it be something like, "He felt as if he was going to throw up." That sounds awkward to me...
#1 - September 02, 2012, 06:08 AM

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"He felt as if he WERE going to throw up" is grammatically correct. (Note my change to the subjunctive mood with WERE, not WAS.)

But if the writing style is casual, you could probably get away with "He felt like he was . . ."
#2 - September 02, 2012, 06:10 AM
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Grammar aside, would it be even better to be more specific about what he was feeling? For example: He felt the ??? move in his gut and the bile climb to the top of his his throat. He was going to lose it for sure.

Not that, but you get what I mean. And you may already have those details, but I thought I'd add my two cents. Chuck it if it's not helpful.  :snork
#3 - September 02, 2012, 06:44 AM
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"He felt as if he WERE going to throw up" is grammatically correct. (Note my change to the subjunctive mood with WERE, not WAS.)

But if the writing style is casual, you could probably get away with "He felt like he was . . ."

Thanks, I think I'll just leave it the way it is.
#4 - September 02, 2012, 07:08 AM

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Grammar aside, would it be even better to be more specific about what he was feeling? For example: He felt the ??? move in his gut and the bile climb to the top of his his throat. He was going to lose it for sure.

Not that, but you get what I mean. And you may already have those details, but I thought I'd add my two cents. Chuck it if it's not helpful.  :snork


Don't worry, I'm just making sure I don't make a noob-style grammar flub.
#5 - September 02, 2012, 07:15 AM

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I agree with AM.
Whether you go formal or casual depends on the voice of your story.
#6 - September 02, 2012, 08:00 AM
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I used 'like' in that context throughout a recent novel and it rang no copyediting alarm bells here in Australia. But when the book was being prepped for US publication, the editor wanted them all changed to 'as if'. I just thought it was a US/Aus thing - didn't realise I could have argued for them on the basis of informality (first-person voice, middle-grade protag/audience).
#7 - September 02, 2012, 11:18 PM

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"He felt like he was going to throw up."

This sounds normal and grammatically correct to my ear.
#8 - September 03, 2012, 12:51 AM
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I think it's fine but I avoid the word 'felt' whenever I can because often you really don't need it.
#9 - September 04, 2012, 06:27 PM
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You know, I think Christy's right. I don't think "He felt like..." is grammatically incorrect (if so, why?) but "He was going to throw up" is more immediate.

But all of that aside, puking and almost-puking are so cliched in upper MG/YA these days it makes me want to...
#10 - September 04, 2012, 06:34 PM

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