This sentence is from English Grammar Today by the Cambridge Dictionary:
The floods were rising and it was as if it was the end of the world.
My question is why should it was be there twice in that sentence?
I assume that the first it was refers back to the rising of the floods. Then what function does the second it was do?
Couldn’t the sentence be acceptable if it were written as follows?
- The floods were rising and it was as if the end of the world.
- The floods were rising as if the end of the world.
Both your alternatives are ungrammatical. As if needs to be followed by a verb phrase, prepositional phrase, or adjectival phrase, not a noun phrase. Both instances of it in the original are quite non-referential – they don’t refer back to anything. They both refer very vaguely to the general situation, as in “it’s raining” or “it’s a nice day”, and they’re both necessary if you want to keep the structure as two main clauses. Your second alternative would work if you left the second it was in. (To some, including me, the second should be it were, but to others, it was is fine.)
Credit: Janus Bahs Jacquet