The difference between “seems to be” and “seems” is subtle. For the most part, they’re interchangeable, though there is something that we should pay attention to before using them. This article will explore what that is and when to use them both.
When Is “Seems To Be” Used Instead Of “Seems?
We use “seems to be” when something appears to be like something, and it’s usually more objective (i.e., “it seems to be empty” when it’s clearly empty). We use “seems” when the appearance is more subjective (i.e., “he seems sleepy,” though we don’t know for sure).
The definition of “seems,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to give the effect of being; to be judged to be.” It’s very common for the infinitive verb form “to be” to follow it regardless of what else is mentioned in the sentence.
What Does “Seems To Be” Mean?
“Seems to be” means that something appears to be one way. We might not have all the required information to make a final judgment, but we’re confident in our own impression of something. Usually, “seems to be” is more objective in nature.
By objective, we mean that usually, the things we say that “seems to be” like something are true. Usually, it won’t take much to prove them, or we understand that with our current information, we are correct.
- This house seems to be empty.
The house in question is empty according to every room that we’ve checked. For that reason, we say “seems to be” to address it. Again, it’s not definitive, meaning we might have missed a room or two, but for now, the house is definitely empty.
“Seem to be” or “Seems to be”: Which is correct?
“Seem to be” and “seems to be” are both correct. “Seem to be” is the verb form used with the first person singular and plural (I, we), second person singular and plural (you), and third person plural (they). “Seems” is only for the third person singular (he, she, or it).
The verb form is important in English. If you can get it right every time, you won’t have to worry about everything else.
- I seem to be mistaken.
- They seem to be close.
- He seems to be losing.
- She seems to be sad.
As you can see, “seem” and “seems” are both the same word. The only difference comes from the pronoun that you use; otherwise, they are both correct.
Example sentences with “Seems to be”
Here are some helpful examples we can use to show you how “seems to be” looks in a sentence.
- He seems to be legit.
- That seems to be the hardest word I’ve ever learned in my life!
- It seems to be working, though I don’t know for sure.
- It seems to be good, but I don’t like it when things seem like that.
- Something seems to be missing from this.
- It seems silly, but I don’t know what to do next.
- What seems to be the problem here?
- She seems to be losing her mind!
“Seems to be” works when we use the pronouns “he” or “she.” It can also work well when we write “it” or any variations of it (like “something,” “this,” or “that”).
Example sentences with “Seem to be”
“Seem to be” works similarly, but we still have to understand which pronouns work best for it.
- I seem to be losing weight quickly.
- Does anything seem to be wrong here?
- They seem to be taking their time.
- We seem to be lost again!
- You seem to believe that you’ve got the upper hand.
“Seem to be” works with every other pronoun, like “I,” “you,” “we,” and “they.” We can use it in the same way to mean that something appears to be a certain way.
Synonyms for “Seems to be”
Let’s go over some synonyms for “seems to be” that we might be able to use. These alternatives will help you to explore new language options and ideas for when you want them.
- Appears to be
- Seems like
- Gives the impression of
- Looks to be
- Looks as though
- Has the look of
- Shows signs of
- Comes across as
- Strikes me as
These are all great alternatives to use if you think “seems to be” rules are too tricky to grasp right now.