How to Use the Word “Seem” Correctly in English
The word “seem” is a very common and useful word in English, but it can also be tricky to use correctly. In this article, we will explain the meaning and usage of “seem” and give you some examples and tips to help you master this word.
What does “seem” mean?
The word “seem” means to give the impression or appearance of something, without being certain or definite. It is often used to express an opinion, a feeling, a guess, or a possibility based on some evidence or observation.
- She seems happy today. (This is an opinion based on her facial expression or behavior.)
- It seems like it’s going to rain. (This is a guess based on the weather or the clouds.)
- He seems to know a lot about cars. (This is a possibility based on his knowledge or experience.)
How to use “seem” in a sentence?
The word “seem” can be used in different ways depending on the context and the meaning you want to convey. Here are some common ways to use “seem” in a sentence:
Seem + adjective
This is the simplest and most common way to use “seem”. You can use any adjective after “seem” to describe how something or someone appears or feels to you.
- You seem tired. Do you want to take a nap?
- This cake seems delicious. Can I have a slice?
- They seem angry. What did you do?
Seem + like + noun/pronoun
This is another common way to use “seem”. You can use “like” after “seem” to compare something or someone to a noun or a pronoun.
- She seems like a nice person. I want to be friends with her.
- This book seems like a waste of time. I don’t like it.
- He seems like he’s in a hurry. Let’s not bother him.
Seem + to + verb
This is a more formal way to use “seem”. You can use “to” after “seem” to introduce an infinitive verb that describes an action or a state of something or someone.
- The door seems to be locked. Do you have the key?
- She seems to enjoy her job. She always smiles at work.
- He seems to have forgotten our appointment. He hasn’t called me yet.
Tips and tricks for using “seem”
Here are some tips and tricks for using “seem” correctly and effectively in English:
- Avoid using “very” before “seem”. Instead, use a stronger adjective or adverb after “seem”. For example, instead of saying “He seems very smart”, say “He seems brilliant”.
- If you want to emphasize your uncertainty or doubt about something or someone, you can use words like “almost”, “nearly”, “quite”, or “rather” before “seem”. For example, instead of saying “She seems happy”, say “She almost seems happy”.
- If you want to express contrast or surprise about something or someone, you can use words like “hardly”, “barely”, or “scarcely” before “seem”. For example, instead of saying “He seems old”, say “He hardly seems old”.
- If you want to make a polite request or suggestion using “seem”, you can use words like “would”, “could”, or “might” after “seem”. For example, instead of saying “You seem tired”, say “You seem tired. Would you like some coffee?”
- If you want to make a negative statement using “seem”, you can use words like “not”, “never”, or “no” before or after “seem”. For example, instead of saying “She seems happy”, say “She