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As a rule, verbs denoting a state rather than an act have no continuous forms, like understand, know, believe, like, love, belong, prefer, consist, mean, hear, see, etc.
Use the past tense after the phrase as if or as though. He talks as if he knew everything, means He talks as he would talk if he knew everything.
Use the subjective were with the verb to be after as if: He acts as if he were a rich man.
If you begin with a verb referring to past time, keep the verb forms in the past. The same rule applies to tenses throughout a composition.
If we are speaking of an action just finished, we must use the present perfect instead of the simple past tense. For example, immediately after the clock strikes, we shouldn't say The clock struck, but The clock has struck.