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Hello.

My name is Hyeji and I always have this bunch of questions in my head because I try to think of as many expressions as possible on my own. The problem is, whenever I think of a phrase or an expression, there seems to be no sure way to check. I don't have any native speakers of English around me but now I have, don't I? On the internet, at least.

Anyway here goes my question.

either

a) "That would have made it seem like(or look like) I was trying to tease her."

or

"That would make it seem like(or look like) -"

The underlined part is what I'm curious about. The rest of the sentence is

Does this sentence sound natural enough? Is it used by native speakers as well?

If yes, how about this one? any difference in meaning?

b) That would seem like(or look like)... ->without the verb 'make'

Now I have had a search on them and the result got me thinking.

It looks like to me that with the verb 'make', the phrase is followed by a that-clause and without it, noun.

Am I right?
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AnonymousDoes this sentence sound natural enough? Is it used by native speakers as well?
Both of these are fine.

That would make it [seem / look] like I was trying to tease her. ("that" is an action being considered for the future.)
That would have made it [seem / look] like I was trying to tease her. ("that" is an action which was being considered in the past)
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And these are also fine.

That would [seem / look] like I was trying to tease her.
That would have [seemed / looked] like I was trying to tease her.
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The difference is this: seem (alone) means to have the appearance (of something); make it seem means to give the appearance (of something).

Compare:
Karen seems sad. (She has the appearance of being sad.)
Karen is wearing black clothes. That makes her seem sad. (The clothes give Karen the appearance of being sad.)

This living room looks very spacious. (It has the appearance of being spacious.)
Placing a mirror at this end of the living room will make it look very spacious. (The placement of a mirror will give the room the appearance of being spacious.)
Anonymouswith the verb 'make', the phrase is followed by a that-clause and without it, noun.
I don't think so. That doesn't sound right.

CJ
Comments  
a) Both are possible and natural to me in everyday contexts (though possibly not in very formal writing).

"That would have made it seem/look like..." refers to a past situation: If that thing had been done at some time in the past then it would have had the stated effect.

"That would make it seem/look like..." refers to a present or future situation. If that thing is done now or in the future then it will have the stated effect.

If followed by a clause (e.g. "That would make it seem like I was being rude"), "like" is informal. More properly, you should say "as if", but most people are happy to say "like" in conversation.

b) Hmm. That's a tricky one to explain. I'm not sure how good or complete this answer is, but here are some things that come to mind.

I suppose there is a tendency to follow "That would make it seem/look like" with a clause and "That would seem/look like" with a noun. For example, "That would make it seem like I was being rude", but "That would seem like rudeness". (Again, it is more proper to say "as if I was being rude".) However, "That would seem like I was being rude" is not forbidden and might be used by native speakers. I suppose "make it" emphasises the fact that some action is being performed to make it so. "That would make it seem like Chistmas" is also OK, for example, even though "Christmas" is a noun.

If "it" refers to a specific noun (rather than generally or vaguely to "the situation") then omitting "make it" is kind of sloppy. For example, "I can't paint the truck red. That would make it look like a fire engine." Here, "That would look like a fire engine" is not very good English IMO (though you could say "It would look like a fire engine").

"That would seem like" can be used in a different sense to express cautious or polite approval of something: "That would seem like a good idea".
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
CalifJim
The difference is this: seem (alone) means to have the appearance (of something); make it seem means to give the appearance (of something).


True, but the question was about "That would (make it) seem like...". Here there is, to me, often an implied action giving said appearance, even without "make it" (except in the very last sense that I mentioned, which is somewhat different).

For example, "That would seem like I was being rude" is conversationally pretty much interchangeable with "That would make it seem like I was being rude" in my usage.
Mr Wordy an implied action giving said appearance, even without "make it" ....... conversationally pretty much interchangeable
Yes. The first word of the statement -- "that" -- implies some action of mine. That already encapsulates the idea of my making (causing, giving) some appearance, so the make part can be omitted.

My performance of those actions would make me seem (like I was being) rude.

All those coreferential arguments allow a collapse into

My performance of those actions would seem (like I was being) rude.

I am both the agent of the actions (the giver of appearances) and the entity observed to have those appearances at the same time. I am giving myself a certain appearance, so that I end up having that appearance.

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This doesn't work in the general case of course. For example, where "that" means "placing mirrors there", we can't take these two as equivalent:

That would make it seem like the room was large.
That would seem like the room was large.

-- because it's the room, and not the placement of mirrors, that seems large.
"that" contains nothing that can be interpreted as coreferential with "room".

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But I think you've already said most of this in different words. Emotion: smile

CJ
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CalifJim
This doesn't work in the general case of course. For example, where "that" means "placing mirrors there", we can't take these two as equivalent:

That would make it seem like the room was large.

That would seem like the room was large.


Yes, that's a type of usage I wasn't considering.