seem

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UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈsiːm/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/sim/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(sēm)


WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
seem
You use seem to say that someone or something gives a particular impression.
used with adjectives
Seem is usually followed by an adjective. If someone gives the impression of being happy, you can say that they seem happy. You can also say that they seem to be happy. There is no difference in meaning.
Even minor problems seem important.
You seem to be very interested.
If the adjective is a non-gradable adjective such as alone or alive, you usually use seem to be. For example, you say ‘He seemed to be alone’. You don't say ‘He seemed alone’.
She seemed to be asleep.
In order to say who has an impression of someone or something, use seem followed by an adjective and the preposition to.
He always seemed old to me.
This idea seems ridiculous to most people.
used with noun phrases
Instead of an adjective, you can use a noun phrase after seem or seem to be. For example, instead of saying ‘She seemed nice’, you can say ‘She seemed a nice person’ or ‘She seemed to be a nice person’. In conversation and in less formal writing, people often say ‘She seemed like a nice person’.
It seemed a long time before the food came.
She seems to be a very good boss.
It seemed like a good idea.
Be careful
Don't use ‘as’ after seem. Don't say, for example, ‘It seemed as a good idea’.
If the noun phrase contains a determiner such as the or a but not an adjective, you must use seemed to be. For example, say ‘He seemed to be the owner of the car’. Don't say ‘He seemed the owner of the car’.
At first the seal seemed to be a rock.
What seems to be the trouble?
used with verbs
You can use other to-infinitives besides ‘to be’ after seem. For example, you can say ‘He seemed to need help’. You can also say ‘It seemed that he needed help’ or ‘It seemed as though he needed help’.
The experiments seem to prove that sugar is bad for you.
It seemed to me that she was right.
It seemed as though the war had ended.
'seem' also found in these entries:
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