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According to Oxford Dictionary of English 3rd edition (2010:90), discourse marker “as if” means, in informal style, “I very much doubt it.” Oxford English Dictionary 3rd edition explains that “as if” as discourse marker is “typically used as a sardonic response to a stated or reported suggestion.” Genius English-Japanese Dictionary 5th edition (GEJD5) (2014:123) presents the following example.

(1) “Did you have a good flight?” “As if!” ( = It was definitely not a good flight!) (GEJD5)

Inoue (2017:459) states that “As if!” is similar to “Not!,” “Yeah, right!,” “No way!,” “Whatever!” and so on. Tunnicliffe (2013:11) states that it resembles “No chance!” Let me show you each usage and example of “As if!” and other similar discourse markers cited from dictionaries as follows.

(2) “[As if! is] An expression of annoyance, to show disapproval of a suggestion, statement, explanation, etc.; “I’m going to take you out for a meal on Saturday” “As if! You’ve said that so many times before, and never done it!”” (Manser (1983:9))

(3) “[Not. is] used as a humorous cancellation of what has just been said in jest: “Yeah, but you’ve got a boyfriend now.” “Not,” I said, emphatically, appropriating one of her more asinine pop phrases.” (Dalzell and Victor (2013:1596))

(4) “[Yeah, right. is] used to say that you do not believe what sb [somebody] has just said, disagree with it, or are not interested in it: “You’ll be fine.” “Yeah, right.”” (OALDCE9)

(5) “[No way. is] used for expressing disbelief at that which has just been said: “I suppose you have every reason to regard me as a certified nut case.” “No way.”” (Dalzell and Victor (2013:1599))

(6) “[Whatever! is] used as a dismissing retort to what has just been said: ELTON: I think we both know what it feels like to be lonely. CHER: Whatever.” (Dalzell and Victor (2013:2399))

(7) “[No chance! is] used as an emphatic negative, often scornful: MONICA: But it’s my chance, Johnny. It’s my only chance. JOHNNY: No chance.” (Dalzell and Victor (2013:1586))

Now I wonder what the radical difference between “As if!” and the others is. If you had lucid answers and explained to me, I would be glad. If you could afford to attach some linguistic references, I will appreciate your kindness.

Thank you for reading.

【 References 】

Dalzell, Tom and Terry Victor (Eds.) (2013) The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English Volume II: J-Z, 2nd edition, Routledge, London.

Genius English-Japanese Dictionary, 5th edition (GEJD5) (2014) Taishukan Shoten, Tokyo.

Inoue, Tohru (2017) “Kantanshi toshiteno As If no Gohoo” (Remarks on Exclamatory As If), The Seijo Bungei: the Seijo University Arts and Literature Quarterly 240, 468-455, Seijo University.

Manser, Martin H. (1983) A Dictionary of Contemporary Idioms, Macmillan LanguageHouse, London.

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 9th edition (OALDCE9) (2015), Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd edition (2010) Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition (2010-) http://www.oed.com/.

Tunnicliffe, Luke (2013) Igirisu no Surangu, Amerika no Surangu: Eigo with Luke (British Slang, American Slang: English with Luke), Kenkyusha, Tokyo.

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  • What do you mean by page 90 of the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary?
    – Alex B.
    Jun 17, 2018 at 16:32
  • 4
    Are you claiming there is a "radical difference"? Jun 17, 2018 at 18:52
  • Also, the usual acronym is OALD-9, not OALDCE.
    – Alex B.
    Jun 18, 2018 at 1:38
  • As with @JeremyNeedle, I don't see where in this data you're getting the suggestion that there's any particular difference. Jun 18, 2018 at 3:44
  • Thank you for your comments, @Alex B. Oxford Dictionary of English is completely different from Oxford English Dictionary. (See "References")
    – Toshi
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:49

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